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Understanding the effects of intermittent shedding on the transmission of infectious diseases: example of salmonellosis in pigs.

Abstract

A number of environmentally transmitted infectious diseases are characterized by intermittent infectiousness of infected hosts. However, it is unclear whether intermittent infectiousness must be explicitly accounted for in mathematical models for these diseases or if a simplified modelling approach is acceptable. To address this question we study the transmission of salmonellosis between penned pigs in a grower-finisher facility. The model considers indirect transmission, growth of free-living Salmonella within the environment, and environmental decontamination. The model is used to evaluate the role of intermittent fecal shedding by comparing the behaviour of the model with constant versus intermittent infectiousness. The basic reproduction number, [Formula: see text], is used to determine the long-term behaviour of the model regarding persistence or extinction of infection. The short-term behaviour of the model, relevant to swine production, is considered by examining the prevalence of infection at slaughter. Comparison of the two modelling approaches indicates that neglecting the intermittent pattern of infectiousness can result in biased estimates for [Formula: see text] and infection prevalence at slaughter. Therefore, models for salmonellosis or similar infections should explicitly account for the mechanism of intermittent infectiousness.

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