
Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 2017, 14(5&6): 13011316. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2017067
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Modeling coinfection of Ixodes tickborne pathogens
1. Department of Applied Mathematics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
2. School of Information Engineering, Guangdong Medical University, Dongguan, Guangdong 523808, China
3. Mathematics and Science College, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China
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Ticks, including the Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes scapularis hard tick species, are regarded as the most common arthropod vectors of both human and animal diseases in Europe and the United States capable of transmitting a large number of bacteria, viruses and parasites. Since ticks in larval and nymphal stages share the same host community which can harbor multiple pathogens, they may be coinfected with two or more pathogens, with a subsequent high likelihood of cotransmission to humans or animals. This paper is devoted to the modeling of coinfection of tickborne pathogens, with special focus on the coinfection of Borrelia burgdorferi (agent of Lyme disease) and Babesia microti (agent of human babesiosis). Considering the effect of coinfection, we illustrate that coinfection with B. burgdorferi increases the likelihood of B. microti transmission, by increasing the basic reproduction number of B. microti below the threshold smaller than one to be possibly above the threshold for persistence. The study confirms a mechanism of the ecological fitness paradox, the establishment of B. microti which has weak fitness (basic reproduction number less than one). Furthermore, coinfection could facilitate range expansion of both pathogens.
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Copyright Info: © 2017, Yijun Lou, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)