A Model Analysis of Effects of Wolf Predation on Prevalence of Chronic Wasting Disease in Elk Populations of Rocky Mountain National Park
June 30, 2019
Increasing mortality rates in diseased populations can retard disease transmission and reduce disease prevalence (Barlow 1996, Lafferty and Holt 2003, Packer et al. 2003, Ostfeld and Holt 2004). Increasing mortality slows transmission via two mechanisms. First, it reduces the average lifetime of infected individuals. Reduced lifespan, in turn, can compress the time interval when animals are infectious, thereby reducing the number of infections produced per infected individual. The effect of reduced intervals of infectivity is amplified by reductions in population density that occur as mortality increases, reductions that cause declines in the number of contacts between infected and susceptible individuals. Both of these mechanisms retard the transmission of disease. If these mechanisms cause the number of new infections produced per infected individual to fall below one, then the disease will be eradicated from the population.
Author(s): N. Thompson Hobbs