Ecological multiplex interactions determine the role of species for parasite spread amplification
Despite their potential interplay, multiple routes of many disease transmissions are often investigated separately. As an unifying framework for understanding parasite spread through interdependent transmission paths, we present the 'ecomultiplex' model, where the multiple transmission paths among a diverse community of interacting hosts are represented as a spatially explicit multiplex network. We adopt this framework for designing and testing potential control strategies for T. cruzi spread in two empirical host communities. We show that the ecomultiplex model is an efficient and low data-demanding method to identify which species enhances parasite spread and should thus be a target for control strategies. We also find that the interplay between predator-prey and host-parasite interactions leads to a phenomenon of parasite amplification, in which top predators facilitate T. cruzi spread, offering a mechanistic interpretation of previous empirical findings. Our approach can provide novel insights in understanding and controlling parasite spreading in real-world complex systems.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and appendices.
Article and author information
Swiss National Science Foundation (P2LAP1-161864)
- Alberto Antonioni
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (645.000.013)
- Sanja Selakovic
Engineer Research and Development Center (EP/G03690X/1)
- Massimo Stella
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (647570)
- Sanja Selakovic
Swiss National Science Foundation (P300P1-171537)
- Alberto Antonioni
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Nicole Gottdenker, University of Georgia, United States
- Received: October 15, 2017
- Accepted: April 20, 2018
- Accepted Manuscript published: April 23, 2018 (version 1)
- Version of Record published: May 21, 2018 (version 2)
© 2018, Stella et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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