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Vectors, hosts, and control measures for Zika virus in the Americas

December 1, 2017

We examine Zika virus (ZIKV) from an ecological perspective and with a focus on the Americas. We assess (1) the role of wildlife in ZIKV disease ecology, (2) how mosquito behavior and biology influence disease dynamics, and (3) how nontarget species and ecosystems may be impacted by vector control programs. Our review suggests that free-ranging, non-human primates may be involved in ZIKV transmission in the Old World; however, other wildlife species likely play a limited role in maintaining or transmitting ZIKV. In the Americas, a zoonotic cycle has not yet been definitively established. Understanding behaviors and habitat tolerances of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, two ZIKV competent vectors in the Americas, will allow more accurate modeling of disease spread and facilitate targeted and effective control efforts. Vector control efforts may have direct and indirect impacts to wildlife, particularly invertebrate feeding species; however, strategies could be implemented to limit detrimental ecological effects.

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