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Bioenergetic theory predicts infection dynamics of human schistosomes in intermediate host snails across ecological gradients.

Civitello, David J; Fatima, Hiba; Johnson, Leah R; Nisbet, Roger M; Rohr, Jason R.
Ecol Lett; 21(5): 692-701, 2018 05.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29527787
Epidemiological dynamics depend on the traits of hosts and parasites, but hosts and parasites are heterogeneous entities that exist in dynamic environments. Resource availability is a particularly dynamic and potent environmental driver of within-host infection dynamics (temporal patterns of growth, reproduction, parasite production and survival). We developed, parameterised and validated a model for resource-explicit infection dynamics by incorporating a parasitism module into dynamic energy budget theory. The model mechanistically explained the dynamic multivariate responses of the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni and its intermediate host snail to variation in resources and host density. At the population level, feedbacks mediated by resource competition could create a unimodal relationship between snail density and human risk of exposure to schistosomes. Consequently, weak snail control could backfire if reductions in snail density release remaining hosts from resource competition. If resource competition is strong and relevant to schistosome production in nature, it could inform control strategies.