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A Tale of Two Regions: A Mathematical Model for Chagas' Disease

In this paper, we model the epidemiological interactions between two populations: one with a virulent strain of Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas' disease, the other with a non-virulent strain that provides cross immunity against the disease. The chagasic strains of T. cruzi are predominantly found in Latin America. Recent field work has shown that an infective strain is migrating (asymmetrically, via vectors) to the southeastern United States, where the non-virulent strains are native. One explanation of such observation is due to changes in the climate and other environmental conditions. As a result, the southern U.S. is becoming habitable for the virulent strains. The model presented herein describes the effects of the migrating chagasic strains on the prevalence and/or possibility of endemicity of the Chagas' disease in the United States. We use an epidemiological modeling paradigm and an analytical framework of nonlinear dynamics to describe the behavior of the two populations and their symmetric interactions (through a migratory function). Possible ecological and preventive strategies are suggested.

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Alhaji Cherif, Cornell University
Viviana Garcia Horton, Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico
Glorimar Melendez Rosario, Universidad de Puerto Rico-Cayey
William Feliciano, Universidad de Puerto Rico-Cayey

Graduate Mentors:
Jose Vega, Arizona State University
Britnee Crawford, University of Texas-Arlington

Faculty Advisors:
Christopher Kribs, University of Texas-Arlington
Fabio Sanchez, OPEN Risk Management team, American Express Inc.