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Proc Biol Sci. Jun 22, 1998; 265(1401): 1097–1104.
PMCID: PMC1689178

Dynamics of a feline retrovirus (FeLV) in host populations with variable spatial structure.

Abstract

The predictions of epidemic models are remarkably affected by the underlying assumptions concerning host population dynamics and the relation between host density and disease transmission. Furthermore, hypotheses underlying distinct models are rarely tested. Domestic cats (Felis catus) can be used to compare models and test their predictions, because cat populations show variable spatial structure that probably results in variability in the relation between density and disease transmission. Cat populations also exhibit various dynamics. We compare four epidemiological models of Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV). We use two different incidence terms, i.e. proportionate mixing and pseudo-mass action. Population dynamics are modelled as logistic or exponential growth. Compared with proportionate mixing, mass action incidence with logistic growth results in a threshold population size under which the virus cannot persist in the population. Exponential growth of host populations results in systems where FeLV persistence at a steady prevalence and depression of host population growth are biologically unlikely to occur. Predictions of our models account for presently available data on FeLV dynamics in various populations of cats. Thus, host population dynamics and spatial structure can be determinant parameters in parasite transmission, host population depression, and disease control.

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Selected References

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Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society

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