The effect of heterogeneity on invasion in spatial epidemics: from theory to experimental evidence in a model system

Franco M. Neri, Anne Bates, Winnie S. Füchtbauer, Francisco J. Pérez-Reche, Sergei N. Taraskin, Wilfred Otten, Douglas J. Bailey, Christopher A. Gilligan

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Abstract

Heterogeneity in host populations is an important factor affecting the ability of a pathogen to invade, yet the quantitative investigation of its effects on epidemic spread is still an open problem. In this paper, we test recent theoretical results, which extend the established “percolation paradigm” to the spread of a pathogen in discrete heterogeneous host populations. In particular, we test the hypothesis that the probability of epidemic invasion decreases when host heterogeneity is increased. We use replicated experimental microcosms, in which the ubiquitous pathogenic fungus Rhizoctonia solani grows through a population of discrete nutrient sites on a lattice, with nutrient sites representing hosts. The degree of host heterogeneity within different populations is adjusted by changing the proportion and the nutrient concentration of nutrient sites. The experimental data are analysed via Bayesian inference methods, estimating pathogen transmission parameters for each individual population. We find a significant, negative correlation between heterogeneity and the probability of pathogen invasion, thereby validating the theory. The value of the correlation is also in remarkably good agreement with the theoretical predictions. We briefly discuss how our results can be exploited in the design and implementation of disease control strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1002174.
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Volume7
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011

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Pathogens
Nutrients
pathogens
pathogen
nutrient
Food
Invasion
nutrients
testing
Disease control
Fungi
Bayesian inference
Control strategy
Open problems
Proportion
Paradigm
Experimental data
Decrease
Prediction
Model

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Neri, F. M., Bates, A., Füchtbauer, W. S., Pérez-Reche, F. J., Taraskin, S. N., Otten, W., ... Gilligan, C. A. (2011). The effect of heterogeneity on invasion in spatial epidemics: from theory to experimental evidence in a model system. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(9), [e1002174.]. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002174

Neri, Franco M.; Bates, Anne; Füchtbauer, Winnie S.; Pérez-Reche, Francisco J.; Taraskin, Sergei N.; Otten, Wilfred; Bailey, Douglas J.; Gilligan, Christopher A. / The effect of heterogeneity on invasion in spatial epidemics: from theory to experimental evidence in a model system.

In: PLoS Computational Biology, Vol. 7, No. 9, e1002174., 09.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Neri, FM, Bates, A, Füchtbauer, WS, Pérez-Reche, FJ, Taraskin, SN, Otten, W, Bailey, DJ & Gilligan, CA 2011, 'The effect of heterogeneity on invasion in spatial epidemics: from theory to experimental evidence in a model system' PLoS Computational Biology, vol 7, no. 9, e1002174.. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002174

The effect of heterogeneity on invasion in spatial epidemics: from theory to experimental evidence in a model system. / Neri, Franco M.; Bates, Anne; Füchtbauer, Winnie S.; Pérez-Reche, Francisco J.; Taraskin, Sergei N.; Otten, Wilfred; Bailey, Douglas J.; Gilligan, Christopher A.

In: PLoS Computational Biology, Vol. 7, No. 9, e1002174., 09.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - The effect of heterogeneity on invasion in spatial epidemics: from theory to experimental evidence in a model system

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AU - Bates,Anne

AU - Füchtbauer,Winnie S.

AU - Pérez-Reche,Francisco J.

AU - Taraskin,Sergei N.

AU - Otten,Wilfred

AU - Bailey,Douglas J.

AU - Gilligan,Christopher A.

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AB - Heterogeneity in host populations is an important factor affecting the ability of a pathogen to invade, yet the quantitative investigation of its effects on epidemic spread is still an open problem. In this paper, we test recent theoretical results, which extend the established “percolation paradigm” to the spread of a pathogen in discrete heterogeneous host populations. In particular, we test the hypothesis that the probability of epidemic invasion decreases when host heterogeneity is increased. We use replicated experimental microcosms, in which the ubiquitous pathogenic fungus Rhizoctonia solani grows through a population of discrete nutrient sites on a lattice, with nutrient sites representing hosts. The degree of host heterogeneity within different populations is adjusted by changing the proportion and the nutrient concentration of nutrient sites. The experimental data are analysed via Bayesian inference methods, estimating pathogen transmission parameters for each individual population. We find a significant, negative correlation between heterogeneity and the probability of pathogen invasion, thereby validating the theory. The value of the correlation is also in remarkably good agreement with the theoretical predictions. We briefly discuss how our results can be exploited in the design and implementation of disease control strategies.

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Neri FM, Bates A, Füchtbauer WS, Pérez-Reche FJ, Taraskin SN, Otten W et al. The effect of heterogeneity on invasion in spatial epidemics: from theory to experimental evidence in a model system. PLoS Computational Biology. 2011 Sep;7(9). e1002174. Available from, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002174