Inapparent and Vertically Transmitted Infections in Two Host-Virus Systems
Grunnill, Martin David
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Despite the advances made since the advent of germ theory, infectious diseases still wreak havoc on human societies, not only affecting us directly but impacting the crops and livestock upon which we rely. Infectious diseases also have dramatic effects on wildlife ecology. Therefore research into infectious diseases could not only directly lead to the improvement and saving of human lives, but aid in food security and the conservation of many wildlife species. Of vital importance in understanding the ecology of infectious diseases are the mechanisms by which they persist in host populations. One possible mechanism is vertical transmission: the transmission of a pathogen from a parent to its offspring as a result of the process of host reproduction. Another possible mechanism is inapparant infections, where an infected host does not display symptoms. Focusing on dengue fever and the Plodia interpunctella granulovirus laboratory system, this PhD thesis looks at the role these two mechanisms play on the persistence of two viral infections and their ecology. Regarding the Plodia interpunctella granulovirus (PiGV) low host food quality led to greater detection of vertically transmitted inapparant PiGV, but did not lead to its activation to an apparent form. Host inbreeding did not lead to vertically transmitted inapparant PiGV’s activation, nor had an effect on its vertical transmission. The vertical infection rate of PiGV was very low. I would therefore suggest that it may be better to use an insect virus system with a higher rate of vertical infection in future research into vertically transmitting inapparent infections. Regarding dengue virus I conclude that vertical transmission is not likely to play a role in the persistence of this virus. However modelling work found that inapparent infections could provide dengue viruses with a means of persistence and should be subject to further research.
Grunnill, M. & Boots, M., 2015. How Important is Vertical Transmission of Dengue Viruses by Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)? Journal of Medical Entomology, pp.1–19.
PhD in Biological Sciences