The consequences of reservoir host eradication on disease epidemiology in animal communities.

Al-Shorbaji, F.N., Roche, B., Gozlan, R. E., Britton, R.J. and Andreou, D., 2016. The consequences of reservoir host eradication on disease epidemiology in animal communities. Emerging Microbes & Infections, 5, e46.

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DOI: 10.1038/emi.2016.46


Non-native species have often been linked with introduction of novel pathogens that spill over into native communities, and the amplification of the prevalence of native parasites. In the case of introduced generalist pathogens, their disease epidemiology in the extant communities remains poorly understood. Here, Sphaerothecum destruens, a generalist fungal-like fish pathogen with bi-modal transmission (direct and environmental) was used to characterise the biological drivers responsible for disease emergence in temperate fish communities. A range of biotic factors relating to both the pathogen and the surrounding host communities were used in a novel susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered (SEIR) model to test how these factors affected disease epidemiology. These included: (i) pathogen prevalence in an introduced reservoir host (Pseudorasbora parva); (ii) the impact of reservoir host eradication and its timing and (iii) the density of potential hosts in surrounding communities and their connectedness. These were modelled across 23 combinations and indicated that the spill-over of pathogen propagules via environmental transmission resulted in rapid establishment in adjacent fish communities (<1 year). Although disease dynamics were initially driven by environmental transmission in these communities, once sufficient numbers of native hosts were infected, the disease dynamics were driven by intra-species transmission. Subsequent eradication of the introduced host, irrespective of its timing (after one, two or three years), had limited impact on the long-term disease dynamics among local fish communities. These outputs reinforced the importance of rapid detection and eradication of non-native species, in particular when such species are identified as healthy reservoirs of a generalist pathogen.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:aquaculture; community ecology; emerging infectious diseases; epidemiological modelling; invasive species; topmouth gudgeon
Group:Faculty of Science and Technology
ID Code:23594
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:18 May 2016 10:32
Last Modified:18 May 2016 10:32


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