Application of the lumped age-class technique to studying the dynamics of malaria-mosquito-human interactions.
Hancock PA., Godfray HC.
A series of models of malaria-mosquito-human interactions using the Lumped Age-Class technique of Gurney & Nisbet are developed. The models explicitly include sub-adult mosquito dynamics and assume that population regulation occurs at the larval stage. A challenge for modelling mosquito dynamics in continuous time is that the insect has discrete life-history stages (egg, larva, pupa & adult), the sub-adult stages of relatively fixed duration, which are subject to very different demographic rates. The Lumped Age-Class technique provides a natural way to treat this type of population structure. The resulting model, phrased as a system of delay-differential equations, is only slightly harder to analyse than traditional ordinary differential equations and much easier than the alternative partial differential equation approach. The Lumped Age-Class technique also allows the natural treatment of the relatively fixed time delay between the mosquito ingesting Plasmodium and it becoming infective. Three models are developed to illustrate the application of this approach: one including just the mosquito dynamics, the second including Plasmodium but no human dynamics, and the third including the interaction of the malaria pathogen and the human population (though only in a simple classical Ross-Macdonald manner). A range of epidemiological quantities used in studying malaria such as the vectorial capacity, the entomological inoculation rate and the basic reproductive number (R0) are derived, and examples given of the analysis and simulation of model dynamics. Assumptions and extensions are discussed. It is suggested that this modelling framework may be a natural and useful tool for exploring a variety of issues in malaria-vector epidemiology, especially in circumstances where a dynamic representation of mosquito recruitment is required.