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Disentangling the mode of transmission and impact of the environment when modelling zoonotic diseases

- Lassa fever and Campylobacteriosis as case studies

 

Modelling zoonotic diseases presents many challenges. Here we focus on two key problems: how to separate the contribution of human-to-human transmission from zoonotic spill over, and how to disentangle and quantify the contribution of each environmental factor driving the disease. We consider two exemplary cases: (i) Lassa fever, a rodent-borne disease endemic in West Africa for which we argue that human-to-human transmission might play an important role, and (ii) Campylobacteriosis, a zoonotic gastro-intestinal disease exhibiting puzzling patterns such as a steep increase in the incidence in England and Wales during the early summer. Although these diseases are really different from a biological point of view, the mathematical approaches to address the problems above present many similarities. I will discuss these models, challenges and opportunities for developing novel approaches.

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