Potential effects of heat waves on the population dynamics of the dengue mosquito <i>Aedes albopictus</i>

by Lu Liang, Pengfei Jia, Xiaoyue Tan, Jin Chen, Xiang Chen

Extreme weather events affect the development and survival of disease pathogens and vectors. Our aim was to investigate the potential effects of heat waves on the population dynamics of Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), which is a major vector of dengue and Zika viruses. We modeled the population abundance of blood-fed mosquito adults based on a mechanistic population model of Ae. albopictus with the consideration of diapause. Using simulated heat wave events derived from a 35-year historical dataset, we assessed how the mosquito population responded to different heat wave characteristics, including the onset day, duration, and the average temperature. Two important observations are made: (1) a heat wave event facilitates the population growth in the early development phase but tends to have an overall inhibitive effect; and (2) two primary factors affecting the development are the unusual onset time of a heat wave and a relatively high temperature over an extended period. We also performed a sensitivity analysis using different heat wave definitions, justifying the robustness of the findings. The study suggests that particular attention should be paid to future heat wave events with an abnormal onset time or a lasting high temperature in order to develop effective strategies to prevent and control Ae. albopictus-borne diseases.

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