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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Ecol. Evol. | doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00307

A Data-Validated Host-Parasite Model for Infectious Disease Outbreaks

  • 1McGill University, Canada
  • 2Princeton University, United States
  • 3McGill University, Macdonald Campus, Canada
  • 4University of Alberta, Canada

The use of model experimental systems and mathematical models is important to further understanding of infectious disease dynamics and strategize disease mitigation. Gyrodactylids are helminth ectoparasites of teleost fish which have many dynamical characteristics of microparasites but offer the advantage that they can be quantified and tracked over time, allowing further insight into within-host and epidemic dynamics. In this paper, we design a model to describe host-parasite dynamics of the well-studied guppy-Gyrodactylus turnbulli system, using experimental data to estimate parameters and validate it. We estimate the basic reproduction number (R_0), for this system. Sensitivity analysis reveals that parasite growth rate, and the rate at which the guppy mounts an immune response have the greatest impact on outbreak peak and timing both for initial outbreaks and on longer time scales. These findings highlight guppy population resistance and parasite virulence as key factors in disease control, and future work should focus on incorporating heterogeneity in host resistance into disease models and extrapolating to other host-parasite systems.

Keywords: Epidemic dynamics, mathematical model, Guppy (Poecilia reticulata), Gyrodactylus, Host-para site interactions

Received: 22 May 2019; Accepted: 30 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Pavel Kindlmann, Charles University, Czechia

Reviewed by:

Cock Van Oosterhout, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
Felipe Dargent, University of Ottawa, Canada  

Copyright: © 2019 Tadiri, Kong, Fussmann, Scott and Wang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Ms. Christina P. Tadiri, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, christina.tadiri@mail.mcgill.ca
Dr. Jude Kong, Princeton University, Princeton, 08544, New Jersey, United States, jdkong@ualberta.ca