Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.ijpara.2003.10.003
Title (Primary) Processes leading to a spatial aggregation of Echinococcus multilocularis in its natural intermediate host Microtus arvalis
Author Hansen, F.; Jeltsch, F.; Tackmann, K.; Staubach, C.; Thulke, H.-H.
Journal International Journal for Parasitology
Year 2004
Department OESA
Volume 34
Issue 1
Page From 37
Page To 44
Language englisch

The small fox tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) shows a heterogeneous spatial distribution in the intermediate host (Microtus arvalis). To identify the ecological processes responsible for this heterogeneity, we developed a spatially explicit simulation model. The model combines individual-based (foxes, Vulpes vulpes) and grid-based (voles) techniques to simulate the infections in both intermediate and definite host. If host populations are homogeneously mixed, the model reproduces field data for parasite prevalence only for a limited number of parameter combinations. As ecological parameters inevitably vary to a certain degree, we discarded the homogeneous mixing model as insufficient to gain insight into the ecology of the fox tapeworm cycle. We analysed five different model scenarios, each focussing on an ecological process that might be responsible for the heterogeneous spatial distribution of E. mulitlocularis in the intermediate host. Field studies revealed that the prevalence ratio between intermediate and definite host remains stable over a wide range of ecological conditions. Thus, by varying the parameters in simulation experiments, we used the robustness of the agreement between field data and model output as quality criterion for the five scenarios. Only one of the five scenarios was found to reproduce the prevalence ratio over a sufficient range of parameter combinations. In the accentuated scenario most tapeworm eggs die due to bad environmental conditions before they cause infections in the intermediate host. This scenario is supported by the known sensitivity of tapeworm eggs to high temperatures and dry conditions. The identified process is likely to lead to a heterogeneous availability of infective eggs and thus to a clumped distribution of infected intermediate hosts. In conclusion, areas with humid conditions and low temperatures must be pointed out as high risk areas for human exposure to E. multilocularis eggs as well.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Hansen, F., Jeltsch, F., Tackmann, K., Staubach, C., Thulke, H.-H. (2004):
Processes leading to a spatial aggregation of Echinococcus multilocularis in its natural intermediate host Microtus arvalis
Int. J. Parasit. 34 (1), 37 - 44