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  1. Abstract Background

    Anopheles stephensiis a malaria-transmitting mosquito that has recently expanded from its primary range in Asia and the Middle East, to locations in Africa. This species is a competent vector of bothPlasmodium falciparumandPlasmodium vivaxmalaria. Perhaps most alarming, the characteristics ofAn.stephensi, such as container breeding and anthropophily, make it particularly adept at exploiting built environments in areas with no prior history of malaria risk.

    Methods

    In this paper, global maps of thermal transmission suitability and people at risk (PAR) for malaria transmission byAn.stephensiwere created, under current and future climate. Temperature-dependent transmission suitability thresholds derived from recently published species-specific thermal curves were used to threshold gridded, monthly mean temperatures under current and future climatic conditions. These temperature driven transmission models were coupled with gridded population data for 2020 and 2050, under climate-matched scenarios for future outcomes, to compare with baseline predictions for 2020 populations.

    Results

    Using the Global Burden of Disease regions approach revealed that heterogenous regional increases and decreases in risk did not mask the overall pattern of massive increases of PAR for malaria transmission suitability withAn.stephensipresence. General patterns of poleward expansion for thermal suitability were seen for bothP.falciparumandP.vivaxtransmission potential.

    Conclusions

    Understanding the potential suitability forAn.stephensitransmission in a changing climate provides a key tool for planning, given an ongoing invasion and expansion of the vector. Anticipating the potential impact of onward expansion to transmission suitable areas, and the size of population at risk under future climate scenarios, and where they occur, can serve as a large-scale call for attention, planning, and monitoring.

     
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Condition-specific competition, when environmental conditions alter the outcome of competition, can foster the persistence of resident species after the invasion of a competitively superior invader. We test whether condition-specific competition can facilitate the areawide persistence of the resident and principal West Nile virus vector mosquito Culex pipiens with the competitively superior invasive Aedes albopictus in water from different urban container habitats. (2) Methods: We tested the effects of manipulated numbers of A. albopictus on C. pipiens’ survival and development in water collected from common functional and discarded containers in Baltimore, MD, USA. The experiment was conducted with typical numbers of larvae found in field surveys of C. pipiens and A. albopictus and container water quality. (3) Results: We found increased densities of A. albopictus negatively affected the survivorship and development of C. pipiens in water from discarded containers but had little effect in water from functional containers. This finding was driven by water from trash cans, which allowed consistently higher C. pipiens’ survival and development and had greater mean ammonia and nitrate concentrations that can promote microbial food than other container types. (4) Conclusions: These results suggest that the contents of different urban containers alter the effects of invasive A. albopictus competition on resident C. pipiens, that trash cans, in particular, facilitate the persistence of C. pipiens, and that there could be implications for West Nile virus risk as a result. 
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  3. Abstract

    Extrinsic environmental factors influence the spatiotemporal dynamics of many organisms, including insects that transmit the pathogens responsible for vector‐borne diseases (VBDs). Temperature is an especially important constraint on the fitness of a wide variety of ectothermic insects. A mechanistic understanding of how temperature impacts traits of ectotherms, and thus the distribution of ectotherms and vector‐borne infections, is key to predicting the consequences of climate change on transmission of VBDs like malaria. However, the response of transmission to temperature and other drivers is complex, as thermal traits of ectotherms are typically nonlinear, and they interact to determine transmission constraints. In this study, we assess and compare the effect of temperature on the transmission of two malaria parasites,Plasmodium falciparumandPlasmodium vivax, by two malaria vector species,Anopheles gambiaeandAnopheles stephensi. We model the nonlinear responses of temperature dependent mosquito and parasite traits (mosquito development rate, bite rate, fecundity, proportion of eggs surviving to adulthood, vector competence, mortality rate, and parasite development rate) and incorporate these traits into a suitability metric based on a model for the basic reproductive number across temperatures. Our model predicts that the optimum temperature for transmission suitability is similar for the four mosquito–parasite combinations assessed in this study, but may differ at the thermal limits. More specifically, we found significant differences in the upper thermal limit between parasites spread by the same mosquito (A. stephensi) and between mosquitoes carryingP. falciparum. In contrast, at the lower thermal limit the significant differences were primarily between the mosquito species that both carried the same pathogen (e.g.,A. stephensiandA. gambiaeboth withP. falciparum). Using prevalence data, we show that the transmission suitability metric calculated from our mechanistic model is consistent with observedP. falciparumprevalence in Africa and Asia but is equivocal forP. vivaxprevalence in Asia, and inconsistent withP. vivaxprevalence in Africa. We mapped risk to illustrate the number of months various areas in Africa and Asia predicted to be suitable for malaria transmission based on this suitability metric. This mapping provides spatially explicit predictions for suitability and transmission risk.

     
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