Faculty Publications


The transmission dynamics of a within- and between-hosts malaria model

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Maria Conceição A. Leite

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In this paper, we developed a novel deterministic coupled model tying together the effects of within-host and population level dynamics on malaria transmission dynamics. We develop within-host and within-vector dynamic models, population level between-hosts models, and a nested coupled model combining these levels. The unique feature of this work is the way the coupling and feedback for the model use the various life stages of the malaria parasite both in the human host and the mosquito vector. Analysis of the coupled and the within-human host models indicate the existence of locally asymptotically stable infection- and parasite-free equilibria when the associated reproduction numbers are less than one. The population-level model, on the other hand, exhibits backward bifurcation, where the stable disease-free equilibrium co-exists with a stable endemic equilibrium. A global sensitivity analysis was carried out to measure the effects of the sensitivity and uncertainty in the various model parameters estimates. The results indicate that the most important parameters driving the pathogen level within an infected human are the production rate of the red blood cells from the bone marrow, the infection rate, the immunogenicity of the infected red blood cells, merozoites and gametocytes, and the immunosensitivity of the merozoites and gametocytes. The key parameters identified at the population level are the human recovery rate, the death rate of the mosquitoes, the recruitment rate of susceptible humans into the population, the mosquito biting rate, the transmission probabilities per contact in mosquitoes and in humans, and the parasite production and clearance rates in the mosquitoes. Defining the feedback functions as a linear function of the mosquito biting rate, numerical exploration of the coupled model reveals oscillations in the parasite populations within a human host in the presence of the host immune response. These oscillations dampen as the mosquito biting rate increases. We also observed that the oscillation and damping effect seen in the within-human host dynamics fed back into the population level dynamics; this in turn amplifies the oscillations in the parasite population within the mosquito-host.