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Individual variations in infectiousness explain long-term disease persistence in wildlife populations

AuthorsKramer-Schadt, Stephanie; Fernández, Néstor ; Eisinger, Dirk; Grimm, Volker; Thulke, Hans-Hermann
Issue Date2009
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
CitationOikos 118: 199- 208 (2009)
AbstractViral disease persistence in species without a reservoir host is of importance for public health and disease management. But how can disease persistence be explained? We developed a spatially-explicit individual-based model that takes into account both ecological and viral traits as well as variable space to test disease persistence hypotheses under debate. We introduce a novel concept of modeling alternative disease courses at the individual level, causing transient infections or killing infected animals, with the lethally infected having a variable life-expectancy. We systematically distinguish between disease invasion and persistence. We use classical swine fever (CSF), an economically very important livestock disease in a social host, the wild boar, as a reference system to test and rank the persistence hypotheses under debate. Parameter values for host population demographics and CSF epidemiology reflect current knowledge. Sensitivity analysis of the model parameters revealed that the most important factor for disease persistence is a disease profile with mostly transient, i.e. surviving individuals requiring immunity, and some chronically, long-term infected animals. Immune individuals can constantly produce susceptible offspring, while some chronically infected individuals act as 'super spreaders' in time. Thus, variations in the course of the disease at the individual level are important factors determining persistence, which is usually not taken into account in the prominent measure of epidemiology, i.e. the basic reproductive number R0, which reflects the 'reproductive potential' of the infected sub-population. We discuss our results with regard to the general issues of modeling epidemics and disease management issues. © 2009 The Authors.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2008.16582.x
issn: 0030-1299
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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