Journal article

High host density favors greater virulence: a model of parasite-host dynamics based on multi-type branching processes

K Borovkov, R Day, T Rice

Journal of Mathematical Biology | SPRINGER HEIDELBERG | Published : 2013


We use a multitype continuous time Markov branching process model to describe the dynamics of the spread of parasites of two types that can mutate into each other in a common host population. While most mathematical models for the virulence of infectious diseases focus on the interplay between the dynamics of host populations and the optimal characteristics for the success of the pathogen, our model focuses on how pathogen characteristics may change at the start of an epidemic, before the density of susceptible hosts decline. We envisage animal husbandry situations where hosts are at very high density and epidemics are curtailed before host densities are much reduced. The use of three pathog..

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Awarded by ARC Discovery Grant

Funding Acknowledgements

K. Borovkov was supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems (MASCOS) and ARC Discovery Grant DP120102398. T. Rice was partially supported by MASCOS. The original motivation for this study arose from conversations of R. Day with Jeremy Prince and Harry Gorfine. The authors are grateful to the referee whose thoughtful comments helped to improve the presentation of the paper.