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Keywords:

  • Dengue;
  • Kruskal-Wallis test;
  • hazard rate;
  • Gompertz function;
  • logistic function;
  • Weibull function;
  • Cox's proportional hazard function

ABSTRACT:

It is generally assumed that the daily probability of survival of mosquitoes is independent of age. To test this assumption we have conducted a three-year experimental fieldwork study (2005–2007) at Fortaleza-CE in Brazil, determining daily survival rates of the dengue vector Aedes aegypti (L.). Survival rates of adult Ae. aegypti may be age-dependent and the statistical analysis is a sensitive approach for comparing patterns of mosquito survival. The mosquito survival data were better fit by a Weibull survival function than by the more traditionally used Gompertz or logistic survival functions. Gompertz, Weibull, or logistic survival functions often fit the survival, and the tails of the survival curves usually appear to fall between the values predicted by the three functions. We corroborate that the mortality of Ae. aegypti in semi-natural conditions may no more be considered as a constant phenomenon during the life of adult mosquitoes but varies according to the age and environmental conditions under a tropical climate. This study estimates the variability in the survival rate of Ae. aegypti and environmental factors that are related to such variability. The statistical analysis shows that the fitting ability, concerning the hazard function, was in decreasing order: Seasonal Cox, the three-parameter Gompertz, and the three-parameter Weibull, that was similar to the three-parameter logistic. The advantage of using the Cox model is that it is convenient for exploring the relationship between survival and several explanatory variables. The Cox model has the advantage of preserving the variable in its original quantitative form and of using a maximum of information. The survival analyses indicate that mosquito mortality is both age- and environment-dependent.