Modeling Chagas Disease Prevalence in Vector Population Based on Host Species Diversity Using a Deterministic Model
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Models have been used to study transmission dynamics for over 100 years, earlier than even the Ross model in the early 1900's. The modeling of multihost, vector-borne pathogens such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease has demonstrated the important role reservoir competence and contact rate play when it comes to the transmission of such diseases. Chagas disease is one such multihost, vector-borne pathogen. It is caused by the agellate protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi and vectored by insects in the Triatominae subfamily. The progression of Chagas disease has shown differences between it and other usually modeled pathogens. Key differences between them include the drop in transmission following reinfection, and variability in host reservoir competence according to host immune response. This study expands the Ross-Macdonald model, a model developed from the Ross model, to model transmission between an entire host community and the vector for Chagas disease. The study included the effects of reinfected hosts and created an index for reservoir competence to calculate community competence for transmission. The model was run on five different habitats: a contiguous forest, a mid secondary forest, a peridomiciliary habitat, a theoretical habitat composed only of Didelphis marsupialis, and a theoretical habitat composed only of Cebus albifrons. The result was an underestimation of vector infection prevalence in mid secondary forests and peridomicile habitats and an overestimation of it in contiguous forest, but overall trend resembles empirical data. D. marsupialis was found to be capable of supporting an endemic population of T. cruzi on its own, unlike C. albifrons where the disease dies out. This supports D. marsupialis as a reservoir host for Chagas disease while providing a means to indicate other such key hosts in other multihost diseases.
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