Combining a parsimonious mathematical model with infection data from tailor-made experiments to understand environmental transmission

A.M. Gamza*, T.J. Hagenaars*, M.G.J. Koene, M.C.M. de Jong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Although most infections are transmitted through the environment, the processes underlying the environmental stage of transmission are still poorly understood for most systems. Improved understanding of the environmental transmission dynamics is important for effective non-pharmaceutical intervention strategies. To study the mechanisms underlying environmental transmission we formulated a parsimonious modelling framework including hypothesised mechanisms of pathogen dispersion and decay. To calibrate and validate the model, we conducted a series of experiments studying distance-dependent transmission of Campylobacter jejuni in broilers. We obtained informative simultaneous estimates for all three model parameters: the parameter of C. jejuni inactivation, the diffusion coefficient describing pathogen dispersion, and the transmission rate parameter. The time and distance dependence of transmission in the fitted model is quantitatively consistent with marked spatiotemporal patterns in the experimental observations. These results, for C. jejuni in broilers, show that the application of our modelling framework to suitable transmission data can provide mechanistic insight in environmental pathogen transmission.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12986
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages19
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2023

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