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Modelling environmentally-mediated infectious diseases of humans: transmission dynamics of schistosomiasis in China.

Abstract

Macroparasites of humans are sensitive to a variety of environmental variables, including temperature, rainfall and hydrology, yet current comprehension of these relationships is limited. Given the incomplete mechanistic understanding of environment-disease interactions, mathematical models that describe them have seldom included the effects of time-varying environmental processes on transmission dynamics and where they have been included, simple generic, periodic functions are usually used. Few examples exist where seasonal forcing functions describe the actual processes underlying the environmental drivers of disease dynamics. Transmission of human schistosomes, which involves multiple environmental stages, offers a model for applying our understanding of the environmental determinants of the viability, longevity, infectivity and mobility of these stages to controlling disease in diverse environments. Here, a mathematical model of schistosomiasis transmission is presented which incorporates the effects of environmental variables on transmission. Model dynamics are explored and several key extensions to the model are proposed.

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