Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mathematical Sciences

First Advisor

Suzanne Robertson

Second Advisor

Rebecca Segal

Third Advisor

Derek Johnson


We develop and evaluate a novel host-vector model of West Nile virus (WNV) transmission that incorporates multiple avian host species and host stage-structure (juvenile and adult stages), with both species-specific and stage-specific biting rates of vectors on hosts. We use this model to explore WNV transmission dynamics that occur between vectors and multiple structured host populations as a result of heterogeneous biting rates. Our analysis shows that increased exposure of juvenile hosts results in earlier, more intense WNV transmission when compared to the effects of differential host species exposure, regardless of other parameter values. We also find that, in addition to competence, increased juvenile exposure is an important mechanism for determining the effect of species diversity on the disease risk of a community.


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