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Estimation of the transmission dynamics of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi in horses

  • S. R. RÜEGG (a1), D. HEINZMANN (a1) (a2), A. D. BARBOUR (a2) and P. R. TORGERSON (a1)


For the evaluation of the epidemiology of Theileria equi and Babesia caballi in a herd of 510 horses in SW Mongolia, several mathematical models of the transmission dynamics were constructed. Because the field data contain information on the presence of the parasite (determined by PCR) and the presence of antibodies (determined by IFAT), the models cater for maternal protection with antibodies, susceptible animals, infected animals and animals which have eliminated the parasite and also allow for age-dependent infection in susceptible animals. Maximum likelihood estimation procedures were used to estimate the model parameters and a Monte Carlo approach was applied to select the best fitting model. Overall, the results are in line with previous experimental work, and add evidence that the epidemiology of T. equi differs from that of Babesia spp. The presented modelling approach provides a useful tool for the investigation of some vector-borne diseases and the applied model selection procedure avoids asymptotical assumptions that may not be adequate for the analysis of epidemiological field data.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Institute of Parasitology, University of Zürich, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland. Tel: +41 44 635 85 35. Fax: +41 44 635 89 07. E-mail:


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