How, when and where a pathogen is transmitted between two individuals in a population is crucial in understanding and predicting how a disease will spread. New research has laid the foundation for a new generation of zoonotic disease spreading models, which could allow for more targeted prevention strategies.
By using novel complexity sciences tools the study, published in Physical Review Letters, outlines a predictive model of a spatial epidemic spread in a population of territorial animals.
By quantifying the instances of transmission events, the research team, Dr Luca Giuggioli, Senior Lecturer in Complexity Sciences in the Department of Engineering Mathematics and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol, and Dr David Sanders and Master's student, Sebastian PÃ©rez-Becker, from UNAM, Mexico, have determined the propagation speed of a pathogen based on the knowledge of the demography of a species, the way animals wander and the degree of contagiousness of the disease.
As a large percentage of new and remerging human infectious diseases are of animal origin, models that track how pathogens hop from one animal host to another will help develop more effective control measures that are capable of identifying specific individuals or class of individuals rather than ineffective and costly widespread culling procedures of an entire population.
Dr Giuggioli said: "The research findings have the potential to be applicable to various populations of territorial animals worldwide including in the UK bovine Tb in badgers, which has enormous economic implications for the cattle industry."
Bovine tuberculosis (Tb) in badgers, which affects cattle, the farming industry and has become a political issue, is an example of how the model could be used. Badgers are territorial animals and do transmit the infection by passing the bacterial pathogen to individuals in neighbouring territories, which is what the researchers have quantified in their model.
Encounter times in overlapping domains: application to epidemic spread in a population of territorial animals, Luca Giuggioli, Sebastian Pérez-Becker and David P. Sanders, Physical Review Letters, published 30 January 2013.
University of Bristol: http://www.bristol.ac.uk
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
A woman's biological clock may also tell her cellular time. The number of eggs a woman has shows how fast her cells are ageing and predicts her heart disease risk
Screening people as they cross borders never works well but stopping people leaving affected countries could have devastating consequences
Polish doctors used cells from patient's nose to heal spinal injury
Like any trench war, the fight to protect America's kids against disease is proceeding only inch by inch. A new report shows why there's reason for hopeâ€”and reason for worry
Decontaminating biohazard sites can be a tough job, but the hardest microbe to wash away may not be what you think
The discovery of a possible trigger for the onset of Parkinson's disease could lead to new treatments for patients who still depend on a 50-year-old drug
Many people experience severe anxiety in mundane social situations, such as group introductions or paying bills. Why does this happen? And is there any useful purpose to it?
Along with the usual suspects, cigarettes and booze, the European code for avoiding cancer has been updated to include having the HPV vaccine and breastfeeding
Lose the pounds too fast, gain them all back? It seems not. Crash dieters regain the same amount of lost weight as those taking a longer-term approach
A new study suggests a little spending now can buy you a lot of time later