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A study of the role of the transmission mechanism in macroparasite aggregation

  • Julian Herbert (a1) and Valerie Isham (a1)


The dynamics of host-macroparasite infections pose considerable challenges for stochastic modelling because of the need to take into account a large number of relevant factors and many nonlinear interactions between them. This paper focuses attention on the infection transmission process and the effects of specific modelling assumptions about the mechanisms involved. Some dramatically simplified linear models are considered; they are based on multidimensional linear birth and death processes, and are designed to illuminate qualitative effects of interest. Both single and compound infections are allowed. It is shown that such simple models can generate and increase dispersion of parasite counts, even among homogeneous hosts.


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1 Postal address: Department of Statistical Science, University College, London, UK. Email:


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