A Habitat-Based Model for the Spread of Hantavirus between Reservoir and Spillover Species


New habitat-based models for spread of hantavirus are developed which account for interspecies interaction. Existing habitat-based models do not consider interspecies pathogen transmission, a primary route for emergence of new infectious diseases and reservoirs in wildlife and man. The modeling of interspecies transmission has the potential to provide more accurate predictions of disease persistence and emergence dynamics. The new models are motivated by our recent work on hantavirus in rodent communities in Paraguay. Our Paraguayan data illustrate the spatial and temporal overlaps among rodent species, one of which is the reservoir species for Jabora virus and others which are spillover species. Disease transmission occurs when their habitats overlap. Two mathematical models, a system of ordinary differential equations (ODE) and a continuous-time Markov chain (CTMC) model, are developed for spread of hantavirus between a reservoir and a spillover species. Analysis of a special case of the ODE model provides an explicit expression for the basic reproduction number, ℛ0, such that if ℛ0 < 1, then the pathogen does not persist in either population but if ℛ0 > 1, pathogen outbreaks or persistence may occur. Numerical simulations of the CTMC model display sporadic disease incidence, a new behavior of our habitat-based model, not present in other models, but which is a prominent feature of the seroprevalence data from Paraguay. Environmental changes that result in greater habitat overlap result in more encounters among various species that may lead to pathogen outbreaks and pathogen establishment in a new host.


Mathematics and Statistics


This research was supported by a Grant from the Fogarty International Center #R01TW006986-02 under the NIH NSF Ecology of Infectious Diseases initiative. We thank R. K. McCormack for preliminary discussions on this work, the Fundación Moises Bertoni for facilitating access to the field sites, and the Vendramini family for allowing us to work in Estancia Rama III. The Secretaría de Ambiente provided necessary permits for working with wildlife. In addition, we thank the referees for their helpful suggestions.

Keywords and Phrases

Disease spread; Disease transmission; Numerical model; Pathogen; Rodent; Viral disease; Virus; Accuracy; Article; Disease transmission; Habitat; Hantavirus; Mathematical model; Nonhuman; Paraguay; Pathogenesis; Prediction; Priority journal; Probability; Reservoir; Rodent; Virus transmission; Wildlife; Animals; Disease Reservoirs; Ecosystem; Geographic Information Systems; Hantavirus Infections; Male; Markov Chains; Models; Biological; Paraguay; Rodent Diseases; Species Specificity; South America; Rodentia; Basic reproduction number; Interspecies pathogen transmission

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Article - Journal

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© 2009 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2009