Modeling the Effect of Lethal and Non-Lethal Predation on the Dynamics of Tick-Borne Disease

28 Pages Posted: 15 May 2024

Abstract

Tick-borne illnesses transmitted to mammals like rodents and deer by infected ticks has shown dramatic increases in recent times, increasing public health risk in the United States. The population of these mammals can be impacted by predation and the fear of their predators. In this study, we modeled the lethal and non-lethal effect of predation of the mammals on the dynamics of tick-borne disease using {\it ehrlichiosis} as our model disease system. Results of the theoretical analysis of the model in reduced form indicate that the model equilibria are stable when the tick fecundity and mortality rates are not host dependent but are constants. Furthermore, the fear and attack rates of the predators are two of the significant parameters of the model outputs from the sensitivity analysis carried out. Numerical simulation of the model shows that the combined impact of both lethal and non-lethal predation sets off a cascading chain reaction leading to a corresponding reduction in the prey and tick populations as well as disease prevalence as predation rate increases; furthermore, as the fear level of the predator increases, the prey population reduces which subsequently leading to a decrease in the tick populations.

Keywords: tick-borne disease, ehrlichia chaffeensis, lethal and non-lethal effect of predation, sensitivity analysis, amblyomma americanum

Suggested Citation

Antwi-Fordjour, Kwadwo and Kemajou-Brown, Isabella and B. Agusto, Folashade, Modeling the Effect of Lethal and Non-Lethal Predation on the Dynamics of Tick-Borne Disease. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4822220 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4822220

Kwadwo Antwi-Fordjour

Samford University ( email )

800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229
United States

Isabella Kemajou-Brown

Morgan State University ( email )

1700 E. Cold Spring Ln
Baltimore, MD 21251
United States

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