Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

What is a vector?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mark Booth

Downloads


Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Abstract

© 2017 The Authors. Many important and rapidly emerging pathogens of humans, livestock and wildlife are ‘vector-borne’. However, the term ‘vector’ has been applied to diverse agents in a broad range of epidemiological systems. In this perspective, we briefly review some common definitions, identify the strengths and weaknesses of each and consider the functional differences between vectors and other hosts from a range of ecological, evolutionary and public health perspectives. We then consider how the use of designations can afford insights into our understanding of epidemiological and evolutionary processes that are not otherwise apparent. We conclude that from a medical and veterinary perspective, a combination of the ‘haematophagous arthropod’ and ‘mobility’ definitions is most useful because it offers important insights into contact structure and control and emphasizes the opportunities for pathogen shifts among taxonomically similar species with similar feeding modes and internal environments. From a population dynamics and evolutionary perspective, we suggest that a combination of the ‘micropredator’ and ‘sequential’ definition is most appropriate because it captures the key aspects of transmission biology and fitness consequences for the pathogen and vector itself. However, we explicitly recognize that the value of a definition always depends on the research question under study.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Wilson AJ, Morgan ER, Booth M, Norman R, Perkins SE, Hauffe HC, Mideo N, Antonovics J, McCallum H, Fenton A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Year: 2017

Volume: 372

Issue: 1719

Print publication date: 05/05/2017

Online publication date: 05/03/2017

Acceptance date: 15/09/2016

Date deposited: 24/08/2017

ISSN (print): 0962-8436

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2970

Publisher: Royal Society

URL: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2016.0085

DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0085

PubMed id: 28289253


Altmetrics

Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Actions

Find at Newcastle University icon    Link to this publication


Share