A mathematical model for zoonotic transmission of malaria in the Atlantic Forest: exploring the effects of variations in vector abundance and acrodendrophily
Transmission foci of autochthonous malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax -like parasites have frequently been reported in the Atlantic Forest in Southeastern and Southern Brazil. Evidence suggests that malaria is a zoonosis in these areas as human infections by simian Plasmodium species have been detected, and the main vector of malaria in the Atlantic Forest, Anopheles ( Kerteszia ) cruzii , can blood feed on human and simian hosts. In view of the lack of models that seek to predict the dynamics
... edict the dynamics of zoonotic transmission in this part of the Atlantic Forest, the present study proposes a new deterministic mathematical model that includes a transmission compartment for non-human primates and parameters that take into account vector displacement between the upper and lower forest strata. The effects of variations in the abundance and acrodendrophily of An. cruzii on the prevalence of infected humans in the study area and the basic reproduction number (R 0 ) for malaria were analyzed. The model parameters are based on the literature and fitting of the empirical data. Simulations performed with the model indicate that (1) an increase in the abundance of the vector in relation to the total number of blood-seeking mosquitoes leads to an asymptotic increase in both the proportion of infected individuals at steady state and R 0 ; (2) the proportion of infected humans at steady state is higher when displacement of the vector mosquito between the forest strata increases; and (3) in most scenarios, Plasmodium transmission cannot be sustained only between mosquitoes and humans, which implies that non-human primates play an important role in maintaining the transmission cycle. The proposed model contributes to a better understanding of the dynamics of malaria transmission in the Atlantic Forest.