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A spatially explicit agent-based simulation model of a reservoir host of cutaneous leishmaniasis, Rhombomys opimus

Mohammadreza Rajabi, Ali Mansourian, Petter Pilesjö, Mohammad Reza Shirzadi, Reza Fadaei and Javad Ramazanpour

Ecological Modelling, 2018, vol. 370, issue C, 33-49

Abstract: Rhombomys opimus (R. opimus), a social rodent, is the main reservoir host for zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL) in most parts of the Middle East and central Asia. The difficulties in monitoring rodent population patterns have hindered the effective application of preventive measures of ZCL. This study presents a spatially explicit agent-based simulation model of R. opimus behaviors that is integrated with Geographic Automata System (GAS) and a heuristic optimization method, cuckoo search (CS). The model is used to explore the relationships among rodent population dynamics, ZCL incidence and authority interventions using statistical data generated from simulated rodent societies rather than observational data, which are difficult to obtain through field surveys. The model simulation considers three agent types: rodents, colonies and cell agents. The model components and overall approach are calibrated, investigated with sensitivity analysis and validated with empirical field data in a ZCL-endemic area in Isfahan, central Iran. The results suggest that unsupervised and sporadic preventive measures could cause rodent emigration towards human population centers and start new waves of infections.

Keywords: Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis; Agent-based model; Rhombomys opimus; Socio-ecological interactions; Optimization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecomod:v:370:y:2018:i:c:p:33-49