Strongylosis in equids, despite being very common, have never been studied from a strictly ecological point of view.
Mathematical models are important ecological tools used to study the temporal dynamics of parasite populations, and are useful to study the effect of different biological parameters, as well as to analyse the outcome produced by perturbations such as anthelmintic treatments.
This work describes the study of the temporal dynamics of strongyles infection in an organic donkey population, performed using coprological quantitative analysis and donkeys’ age as a proxy of the time of infection. Force of infection was then estimated for Strongylus vulgaris and small strongyles and the results used as the basis for the development of mathematical models. In particular, the comparison of models output and field data made it possible to estimate the transmission coefficient and to consequently calculate the basic reproduction number R0 and the threshold host density. Small strongyles model includes hypobiosis and, more interestingly as never found in literature, a density-dependent development rate of hypobiotic larvae in adult parasites in order to simulate a negative feedback between larvae emergence from hypobiosis and adult parasite abundance.
Simulations of pharmacological and environmental treatments showed that parasite eradication was possible for S. vulgaris only, while small strongyles, due to hypobiosis and density-dependent development rate of their hypobiotic larvae, are very difficult to control and impossible to eradicate.
In addition, density-dependence in larval development has been demonstrated to act as a key factor in improving parasite population survival and abundance even in absence of human intervention.
|Date||14 July 2011|
|Creators||Usai, Federica <1972>|
|Publisher||Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna|
|Source Sets||Università di Bologna|
|Type||Doctoral Thesis, PeerReviewed|
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