Taking a bite out of nutrition and arbovirus infection

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Mar 29;12(3):e0006247. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006247. eCollection 2018 Mar.


Nutrition is a key factor in host-pathogen defense. Malnutrition can increase both host susceptibility and severity of infection through a number of pathways, and infection itself can promote nutritional deterioration and further susceptibility. Nutritional status can also strongly influence response to vaccination or therapeutic pharmaceuticals. Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) have a long history of infecting humans, resulting in regular pandemics as well as an increasing frequency of autochthonous transmission. Interestingly, aside from host-related factors, nutrition could also play a role in the competence of vectors required for transmission of these viruses. Nutritional status of the host and vector could even influence viral evolution itself. Therefore, it is vital to understand the role of nutrition in the arbovirus lifecycle. This Review will focus on nutritional factors that could influence susceptibility and severity of infection in the host, response to prophylactic and therapeutic strategies, vector competence, and viral evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arbovirus Infections / physiopathology*
  • Arbovirus Infections / transmission
  • Arboviruses / pathogenicity*
  • Culicidae / virology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors / virology
  • Nutritional Status*

Grants and funding

Heidi Auerswald is supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Calmette and Yersin Programme of the Institut Pasteur Department of International Affairs. Funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.