A mathematical epidemiological model of gram-negative Bartonella bacteria: Does differential ectoparasite load fully explain the differences in infection prevalence of Rattus rattus and R. norvegicus?
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We postulate that the large difference in infection prevalence, 24% versus 5%, in R. norvegicus and R. rattus, respectively, between these two co-occurring host species may be due to differences in ectoparasite and potential vector infestation rates.Acompartmental model, representative of an infectious system containing these two Rattus species and two ectoparasite vectors, was constructed and the coefficients of the forces of infection determined mathematically. The maximum difference obtained by the model in the prevalence of Bartonella in the two Rattus species amounts to 4.6%, compared to the observed mean difference of 19%. Results suggest the observed higher Bartonella infection prevalence in Rattus norvegicus compared to Rattus rattus, cannot be explained solely by higher ectoparasite load. The model also highlights the need for more detailed biological research on Bartonella infections in Rattus and the importance of the flea vector in the spread of this disease.
- RESEARCH: Chimimba C