|Zoonotic diseases [message #545572]
||Thu, 08 July 2010 05:45
| Arik Kershenbaum
Registered: January 2010
Following on from yesterday's conference call, here are a couple of points that we need to consider when building the capability to model zoonotic diseases.|
1. Although a few diseases (such as hantavirus) are directly transmitted from animals to humans, most are transmitted via a vector. Although STEM currently supports different transmission rates between different populations, it doesn't support different mixing preferences. To make this clearer, consider that there is one mouse and one elephant, each being bitten by the same population of mosquitoes. Is it reasonable that the probability of infection is the same for both of them? The elephant is bigger and will likely be bitten by many more mosquitoes. On the other hand, some vectors have a strong preference for certain species, and bite others only rarely.
2. There is currently no support for migration per se in STEM. What is currently implemented is dispersal, or diffusion. We need two things to support true migration. Firstly, there must be different flows between different cells, whereas at the moment the flow of individuals is determined only by the density gradient (I believe). Each cell should have an "attractiveness" which determines the flux from neighbouring (or connected) cells. Secondly, it should be possible to vary the "attractiveness" of each cell with time, otherwise we will not be able to model seasonal migration such as with birds.
Prof Blaustein's laboratory
Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology
University of Haifa
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