3 years ago

Covariation between the physiological and behavioral components of pathogen transmission: Host heterogeneity determines epidemic outcomes

Lauren A. White, James D. Forester, Meggan E. Craft
Although heterogeneity in contact rate, physiology, and behavioral response to infection have all been empirically demonstrated in host–pathogen systems, little is known about how interactions between individual variation in behavior and physiology scale-up to affect pathogen transmission at a population level. The objective of this study is to evaluate how covariation between the behavioral and physiological components of transmission might affect epidemic outcomes in host populations. We tested the consequences of contact rate covarying with susceptibility, infectiousness, and infection status using an individual-based, dynamic network model where individuals initiate and terminate contacts with conspecifics based on their behavioral predispositions and their infection status. Our results suggest that both heterogeneity in physiology and subsequent covariation of physiology with contact rate could powerfully influence epidemic dynamics. Overall, we found that 1) individual variability in susceptibility and infectiousness can reduce the expected maximum prevalence and increase epidemic variability; 2) when contact rate and susceptibility or infectiousness negatively covary, it takes substantially longer for epidemics to spread throughout the population, and rates of epidemic spread remained suppressed even for highly transmissible pathogens; and 3) reductions in contact rate resulting from infection-induced behavioral changes can prevent the pathogen from reaching most of the population. These effects were strongest for theoretical pathogens with lower transmissibility and for populations where the observed variation in contact rate was higher, suggesting that such heterogeneity may be most important for less infectious, more chronic diseases in wildlife. Understanding when and how variability in pathogen transmission should be modelled is a crucial next step for disease ecology. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/oik.04527

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.