Herpesviruses can remain dormant in once-infected hosts and, upon reactivation, cause such hosts to become infectious. This phenomenon of latency and reactivation may enable herpesviruses to persist for a long time in small host populations. To quantify the effect of reactivation on persistence, the time to extinction of bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV-1) in small cattle populations was calculated. For realistic parameter values the mean time to extinction is already more than 100 years in a population of 10 animals. In a population of 20 animals the time to extinction is approximately 2000 years. The effects of vaccination on persistence were also studied, revealing that continued vaccination of the whole population could result in much faster eradication. For instance, in an isolated herd of 20 animals BHV-1 could be eradicated in 44 years.
- community size