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Transient disease dynamics across ecological scales

May 27, 2021

Analyses of transient dynamics are critical to understanding infectious disease transmission and persistence. Identifying and predicting transients across scales, from within-host to community-level patterns, plays an important role in combating ongoing epidemics and mitigating the risk of future outbreaks. Moreover, greater emphases on non-asymptotic processes will enable timely evaluations of wildlife and human diseases and lead to improved surveillance efforts, preventive responses, and intervention strategies. Here, we explore the contributions of transient analyses in recent models spanning the fields of epidemiology, movement ecology, and parasitology. In addition to their roles in predicting epidemic patterns and endemic outbreaks, we explore transients in the contexts of pathogen transmission, resistance, and avoidance at various scales of the ecological hierarchy. Examples illustrate how (i) transient movement dynamics at the individual host level can modify opportunities for transmission events over time; (ii) within-host energetic processes often lead to transient dynamics in immunity, pathogen load, and transmission potential; (iii) transient connectivity between discrete populations in response to environmental factors and outbreak dynamics can affect disease spread across spatial networks; and (iv) increasing species richness in a community can provide transient protection to individuals against infection. Ultimately, we suggest that transient analyses offer deeper insights and raise new, interdisciplinary questions for disease research, consequently broadening the applications of dynamical models for outbreak preparedness and management.

Publication Year 2021
Title Transient disease dynamics across ecological scales
DOI 10.1007/s12080-021-00514-w
Authors Yun Tao, Jessica L Hite, Kevin D. Lafferty, David J D Earn, Nita Bharti
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Theoretical Ecology
Index ID 70221154
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center