Interacting Virus Abundance and Transmission Intensity Underlie Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus Incidence: An Example Weather-Based Model for Cultivated Tobacco
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Through a modeling approach, we investigated weather factors that affect the summer incidence of Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), a virus vectored exclusively by thrips, in cultivated tobacco. Aspects of thrips and plant biology that affect disease spread were treated as functions of weather, leading to a model of disease incidence informed by thrips and plant biology, and dependent on weather input variables. We found that disease incidence during the summer was influenced by weather affecting thrips activity during the preceding year, especially during a time when thrips transmit TSWV to and from the plant hosts that constitute the virus' natural reservoir. We identified an interaction between spring precipitation and earlier weather affecting thrips, relating this to virus abundance and transmission intensity as interacting factors affecting disease incidence. Throughout, weather is the basic driver of epidemiology in the system, and our findings allowed us to detect associations between atypically high- or low-incidence years and the local climatic deviations from normal weather patterns, brought about by El Niño Southern Oscillation transitions.
author list (cited authors)
Chappell, T. M., Beaudoin, A., & Kennedy, G. G.