Community-level impacts of spatial repellents for control of diseases vectored by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

PLoS Comput Biol. 2020 Sep 25;16(9):e1008190. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008190. eCollection 2020 Sep.


Spatial repellents (SRs) reduce human-mosquito contact by preventing mosquito entrance into human-occupied spaces and interfering with host-seeking and blood-feeding. A new model to synthesize experimental data on the effects of transfluthrin on Aedes aegypti explores how SR effects interact to impact the epidemiology of diseases vectored by these mosquitoes. Our results indicate that the greatest impact on force of infection is expected to derive from the chemical's lethal effect but delayed biting and the negative effect this may have on the mosquito population could elicit substantial impact in the absence of lethality. The relative contributions of these effects depend on coverage, chemical dose, and housing density. We also demonstrate that, through an increase in the number of potentially infectious mosquito bites, increased partial blood-feeding and reduced exiting may elicit adverse impacts, which could offset gains achieved by other effects. Our analysis demonstrates how small-scale experimental data can be leveraged to derive expectations of epidemiological impact of SRs deployed at larger scales.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / microbiology*
  • Aedes / virology
  • Animals
  • Cyclopropanes / pharmacology
  • Fluorobenzenes / pharmacology
  • Insect Repellents*
  • Mosquito Control / methods*
  • Mosquito Vectors*


  • Cyclopropanes
  • Fluorobenzenes
  • Insect Repellents
  • transfluthrin

Grant support

This work was supported and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ( (Grant #48513): "A push-pull strategy for Aedes aegypti control." QAtB was supported by a graduate student fellowship from the Eck Institute for Global Health ( at the University of Notre Dame. JMW was supported by a grant from the Uniformed Services University ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.