Investigating Leptospira dynamics in a multi-host community using an agent-based modelling approach

Aniruddha V. Belsare, Matthew E. Gompper, Meghan Mason, Claudia Munoz-Zanzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Leptospirosis, a neglected bacterial zoonosis, is a global public health issue disproportionately affecting impoverished communities such as urban slums in the developing world. A variety of animal species, including peridomestic rodents and dogs, can be infected with different strains of leptospirosis. Humans contract leptospirosis via exposure to water or soil contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Due to the unavailability of safe and effective vaccines, preventive strategies mainly focus on minimizing human exposure to contaminated environment. In marginalized communities, this approach is ineffective due to infrastructure deficiencies and the difficulties in implementing sanitation and hygiene practices. Moreover, continuing the expansion of urban slums worldwide will likely contribute to the increase in outbreaks of leptospirosis. Effective prevention of leptospirosis outbreaks will therefore require a thorough understanding of Leptospira transmission dynamics in impoverished, high-density settings. We developed the agent-based model MHMSLeptoDy to investigate Leptospira dynamics in a realistic, in silico high-density community of rodents, dogs and human hosts, and two host-adapted Leptospira strains. Virtual explorations using MHMSLeptoDy were undertaken to evaluate alternate interventions and to assess the zoonotic transmission risk of leptospirosis. A key finding from model explorations is that rodents are the main contributors of rodent-adapted as well as dog-adapted strains in the environment, whereas dogs play an important role in distributing the rodent-adapted strain. Alternate leptospirosis control strategies can be evaluated using the open-source, customizable agent-based model, MHMSLeptoDy. This modelling approach provides a sophisticated mechanism to quantitatively evaluate nuanced intervention strategies and inform the design of rational, locally relevant leptospirosis control programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3780-3789
Number of pages10
JournalTransboundary and Emerging Diseases
Volume69
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Initial work that produced the original idea on the modelling framework was supported by NSF EEID (Project 0913570). The Working Group in Mathematical modeling of transmission and intervention strategies was supported by the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). AVB was supported by NSF Award P20GM104420 (2017–2019) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service through the Pittman‐Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act Grant MI W‐155‐R (2019–2020). Computational analyses were facilitated by access to the New Mexico State University's Discovery High Performance Computing Cluster. Leptospira

Funding Information:
Initial work that produced the original idea on the modelling framework was supported by NSF EEID (Project 0913570). The Working Group in Mathematical modeling of Leptospira transmission and intervention strategies was supported by the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). AVB was supported by NSF Award P20GM104420 (2017–2019) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act Grant MI W-155-R (2019–2020). Computational analyses were facilitated by access to the New Mexico State University's Discovery High Performance Computing Cluster.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Wiley-VCH GmbH.

Keywords

  • Leptospira
  • agent-based model
  • transmission dynamics
  • virtual explorations
  • zoonosis

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