The influence of social behaviour on competition between virulent pathogen strains
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Infectious disease interventions like contact precautions and vaccination have proven effective in disease control and elimination. The priority given to interventions can depend strongly on how virulent the pathogen is, and interventions may also depend partly for their success on social processes that respond adaptively to disease dynamics. However, mathematical models of competition between pathogen strains with differing natural history profiles typically assume that human behaviour is fixed. Here, our objective is to model the influence of social behaviour on the competition between pathogen strains with differing virulence. We couple a compartmental Susceptible-Infectious-Recovered model for a resident pathogen strain and a mutant strain with higher virulence, with a differential equation of a population where individuals learn to adopt protective behaviour from others according to the prevalence of infection of the two strains and the perceived severity of the respective strains in the population. We perform invasion analysis, time series analysis and phase plane analysis to show that perceived severities of pathogen strains and the efficacy of infection control against them can greatly impact the invasion of more virulent strain. We demonstrate that adaptive social behaviour enables invasion of the mutant strain under plausible epidemiological scenarios, even when the mutant strain has a lower basic reproductive number than the resident strain. Surprisingly, in some situations, increasing the perceived severity of the resident strain can facilitate invasion of the more virulent mutant strain. Our results demonstrate that for certain applications, it may be necessary to include adaptive social behaviour in models of the emergence of virulent pathogens, so that the models can better assist public health efforts to control infectious diseases.
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Joe Pharaon, Chris T. Bauch (2018). The influence of social behaviour on competition between virulent pathogen strains. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13504
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