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Spatially extended host-parasite interactions: The role of recovery and immunity

Webb, S.D. and Keeling, M.J. and Boots, M. (2007) Spatially extended host-parasite interactions: The role of recovery and immunity. Theoretical Population Biology, 71 (2). pp. 251-266. ISSN 0040-5809

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Techniques for determining the long-term dynamics of host-parasite systems are well established for mixed populations. The field of spatial modelling in ecology is more recent but a number of key advances have been made. In this paper, we use state-of-the-art approximation techniques, supported by simulations, in order to investigate the role of recovery and immunity in spatially structured populations. Our approach is to use correlation models, namely pair-wise models, to capture the spatial relationships of contacts and interactions between individuals. We use the pair-wise framework to address a number of key ecological questions; including, the persistence of endemic limit cycles and regions of parasite-driven extinction - features which differentiate spatial from non-spatial models - and the effects on invasion fitness. We demonstrate a loss of limit cycle behaviour, in addition to an increase in the critical transmissibility and extinction thresholds, when recovery is included. This approach allows for a better analytical understanding of the dynamics of host-parasite interactions and demonstrates the importance of recovery and immunity in local interactions.