Epidemiology and Infection

The effect of Wolbachia on dengue dynamics in the presence of two serotypes of dengue: Symmetric and asymmetric epidemiological characteristics

Download paper


An innovative strategy to reduce dengue transmission uses the bacterium Wolbachia. We analysed the effects of Wolbachia on dengue transmission dynamics in the presence of two serotypes of dengue using a mathematical model, allowing for differences in the epidemiological characteristics of the serotypes. We found that Wolbachia has a greater effect on secondary infections than on primary infections across a range of epidemiological characteristics. If one serotype is more transmissible than the other, it will dominate primary infections and Wolbachia will be less effective at reducing secondary infections of either serotype. Differences in the antibody-dependent enhancement of the two serotypes have considerably less effect on the benefits of Wolbachia than differences in transmission probability. Even if the antibody-dependent enhancement rate is high, Wolbachia is still effective in reducing dengue. Our findings suggest that Wolbachia will be effective in the presence of more than one serotype of dengue; however, a better understanding of serotype-specific differences in transmission probability may be needed to optimize delivery of a Wolbachia intervention.


21 Apr 2016


Epidemiology and Infection