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Theor Popul Biol. 2002 Feb;61(1):15-29.

The metapopulation dynamics of an infectious disease: tuberculosis in possums.

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AgResearch, Wallaceville Animal Research Centre, Upper Hutt, New Zealand.


An SEI metapopulation model is developed for the spread of an infectious agent by migration. The model portrays two age classes on a number of patches connected by migration routes which are used as host animals mature. A feature of this model is that the basic reproduction ratio may be computed directly, using a scheme that separates topography, demography, and epidemiology. We also provide formulas for individual patch basic reproduction numbers and discuss their connection with the basic reproduction ratio for the system. The model is applied to the problem of spatial spread of bovine tuberculosis in a possum population. The temporal dynamics of infection are investigated for some generic networks of migration links, and the basic reproduction ratio is computed-its value is not greatly different from that for a homogeneous model. Three scenarios are considered for the control of bovine tuberculosis in possums where the spatial aspect is shown to be crucial for the design of disease management operations.

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