Impact of daily temperature fluctuations on dengue virus transmission by Aedes aegypti

Louis Lambrechts, Krijn P. Paaijmans, Thanyalak Fansiri, Lauren B. Carrington, Laura D. Kramer, Matthew B. Thomas, Thomas W. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

508 Scopus citations


Most studies on the ability of insect populations to transmit pathogens consider only constant temperatures and do not account for realistic daily temperature fluctuations that can impact vector - pathogen interactions. Here, we show that diurnal temperature range (DTR) affects two important parameters underlying dengue virus (DENV) transmission by Aedes aegypti. In two independent experiments using different DENV serotypes, mosquitoes were less susceptible to virus infection and died faster under larger DTR around the same mean temperature. Large DTR (20 °C) decreased the probability of midgut infection, but not duration of the virus extrinsic incubation period (EIP), compared with moderate DTR (10 °C) or constant temperature. A thermodynamic model predicted that at mean temperatures <18 °C, DENV transmission increases as DTR increases, whereas at mean temperatures >18 °C, larger DTR reduces DENV transmission. The negative impact of DTR on Ae. aegypti survival indicates that large temperature fluctuations will reduce the probability of vector survival through EIP and expectation of infectious life. Seasonal variation in the amplitude of daily temperature fluctuations helps to explain seasonal forcing of DENV transmission at locations where average temperature does not vary seasonally and mosquito abundance is not associated with dengue incidence. Mosquitoes lived longer and were more likely to become infected under moderate temperature fluctuations, which is typical of the high DENV transmission season than under large temperature fluctuations, which is typical of the low DENV transmission season. Our findings reveal the importance of considering short-term temperature variations when studying DENV transmission dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7460-7465
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 3 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbovirus
  • Climate
  • Vectorial capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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