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A simulation model for the study of the within-animal infection dynamics of E. coli O157

Wood, J.C. and McKendrick, Iain J. and Gettinby, George (2006) A simulation model for the study of the within-animal infection dynamics of E. coli O157. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 74 (2-3). pp. 180-193. ISSN 0167-5877

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Abstract

Escherichia coli 0157 can cause serious illness, even death, in humans. There is some consensus that the main reservoirs of this harmful bacterium are the rumens and intestines of cattle. Hence, a stochastic model of the bovine gut was developed to investigate the in vivo population dynamics of E. coli O157. Because bacterial numbers can reach minimal levels, a stochastic system was considered, with a birth-death process being used to represent bacterial growth and decay dynamics throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Reinfection through ingestion of bacteria present in the environment was allowed to occur and the required clustered distribution of inter-event times was implemented through the use of a random hazard doubly stochastic Poisson process. Due to the inclusion of multiple compartments, a feedback mechanism and an interest in the non-equilibrium dynamics of the process, it was not possible to obtain an analytical representation of the process and therefore, a simulation study was used to obtain results. The within-animal model can be used to explore the efficacy of control measures which act at an individual animal level.