Modelling vector transmission and epidemiology of co-infecting plant viruses

Linda J.S. Allen, Vrushali A. Bokil, Nik J. Cunniffe, Frédéric M. Hamelin, Frank M. Hilker, Michael J. Jeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Co-infection of plant hosts by two or more viruses is common in agricultural crops and natural plant communities. A variety of models have been used to investigate the dynamics of co-infection which track only the disease status of infected and co-infected plants, and which do not explicitly track the density of inoculative vectors. Much less attention has been paid to the role of vector transmission in co-infection, that is, acquisition and inoculation and their synergistic and antagonistic interactions. In this investigation, a general epidemiological model is formulated for one vector species and one plant species with potential co-infection in the host plant by two viruses. The basic reproduction number provides conditions for successful invasion of a single virus. We derive a new invasion threshold which provides conditions for successful invasion of a second virus. These two thresholds highlight some key epidemiological parameters important in vector transmission. To illustrate the flexibility of our model, we examine numerically two special cases of viral invasion. In the first case, one virus species depends on an autonomous virus for its successful transmission and in the second case, both viruses are unable to invade alone but can co-infect the host plant when prevalence is high.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1153
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 13 2019


  • Co-infection
  • Invasion reproduction number
  • Vector transmission


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