Publication: Control strategies for a stochastic model of host-parasite interaction in a seasonal environment
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We examine a nonlinear stochastic model for the parasite load of a single host over a predetermined time interval. We use nonhomogeneous Poisson processes to model the acquisition of parasites, the parasite-induced host mortality, the natural (no parasite-induced) host mortality, and the reproduction and death of parasites within the host. Algebraic results are first obtained on the age-dependent distribution of the number of parasites infesting the host at an arbitrary time t. The interest is in control strategies based on isolation of the host and the use of an anthelmintic at a certain intervention instant t(0). This means that the host is free living in a seasonal environment, and it is transferred to a uninfected area at age t(0). In the uninfected area, the host does not acquire new parasites, undergoes a treatment to decrease the parasite load, and its natural and parasite-induced mortality are altered. For a suitable selection of t(0), we present two control criteria that appropriately balance effectiveness and cost of intervention. Our approach is based on simple probabilistic principles, and it allows us to examine seasonal fluctuations of gastrointestinal nematode burden in growing lambs.