This study presents a continuous-time model for the sylvatic transmission dynamics of two strains of Trypanosoma cruzi enzootic in North America, in order to study the role that adaptations of each strain to distinct modes of transmission (classical stercorarian transmission on the one hand, and vertical and oral transmission on the other) may play in the competition between the two strains. A deterministic model incorporating contact process saturation predicts competitive exclusion, and reproductive numbers for the infection provide a framework for evaluating the competition in terms of adaptive trade-off between distinct transmission modes. Results highlight the importance of oral transmission in mediating the competition between horizontal (stercorarian) and vertical transmission; its presence as a competing contact process advantages vertical transmission even without adaptation to oral transmission, but such adaptation appears necessary to explain the persistence of (vertically-adapted) T. cruzi IV in raccoons and woodrats in the southeastern United States.
- Trypanosoma cruzi
- horizontal transmission
- vertical transmission
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics