Network structure and prevalence of Cryptosporidium in Belding's ground squirrels

VanderWaal, Kimberly L., Atwill, Edward R., Hooper, Stacie, Buckle, Kelly and McCowan, Brenda (2013) Network structure and prevalence of Cryptosporidium in Belding's ground squirrels. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67 12: 1951-1959. doi:10.1007/s00265-013-1602-x

Author VanderWaal, Kimberly L.
Atwill, Edward R.
Hooper, Stacie
Buckle, Kelly
McCowan, Brenda
Title Network structure and prevalence of Cryptosporidium in Belding's ground squirrels
Journal name Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0340-5443
Publication date 2013-01-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00265-013-1602-x
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 67
Issue 12
Start page 1951
End page 1959
Total pages 9
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Subject 1105 Dentistry
1103 Clinical Sciences
Abstract Although pathogen transmission dynamics are profoundly affected by population social and spatial structure, few studies have empirically demonstrated the population-level implications of such structure in wildlife. In particular, epidemiological models predict that the extent to which contact patterns are clustered decreases a pathogen's ability to spread throughout an entire population, but this effect has yet to be demonstrated in a natural population. Here, we use network analysis to examine patterns of transmission of an environmentally transmitted parasite, Cryptosporidium spp., in Belding's ground squirrels (Spermophilus beldingi). We found that the prevalence of Cryptosporidium was negatively correlated with transitivity, a measure of network clustering, and positively correlated with the percentage of juvenile males. Additionally, network transitivity decreased when there were higher percentages of juvenile males; the exploratory behavior demonstrated by juvenile males may have altered the structure of the network by reducing clustering, and low clustering was associated with high prevalence. We suggest that juvenile males are critical in mediating the ability of Cryptosporidium to spread through colonies, and thus may function as "super-spreaders." Our results demonstrate the utility of a network approach in quantifying mechanistically how differences in contact patterns may lead to system-level differences in infection patterns.
Keyword Clustering
Ground squirrels
Infection patterns
Pathogen transmission
Social networks
Wildlife disease
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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