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Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering

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The parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas’ disease, is typically transmitted through a cycle in which vectors become infected through bloodmeals on infected hosts and then infect other hosts through defecation at the sites of subsequent feedings. The vectors native to the southeastern United States, however, are inefficient at transmitting T. cruzi in this way, which suggests that alternative transmission modes may be responsible for maintaining the established sylvatic infection cycle. Vertical and oral transmission of sylvatic hosts, as well as differential behavior of infected vectors, have been observed anecdotally. This study develops a model which accounts for these alternative modes of transmission, and applies it to transmission between raccoons and the vector Triatoma sanguisuga. Analysis of the system of nonlinear differential equations focuses on endemic prevalence levels and on the infection’s basic reproductive number, whose form may account for how a combination of traditionally secondary infection routes can maintain the transmission cycle when the usual primary route becomes ineffective.


Mathematics | Physical Sciences and Mathematics

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This research was partially supported by a grant from the Fondo Ram´on Buylla-´ Alvarez. This work was also supported by a grant from the Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 01, 3000

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