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Sauvé, C.C.; Rees, E.E.; Gilbert, A.T.; Berentsen, A.R.; Allibert, A.; Leighton, P.A. Modeling Mongoose Rabies in the Caribbean: A Model-Guided Fieldwork Approach to Identify Research Priorities. Viruses 2021, 13, 323. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/v13020323


Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license


We applied the model-guided fieldwork framework to the Caribbean mongoose rabies system by parametrizing a spatially-explicit, individual-based model, and by performing an uncertainty analysis designed to identify parameters for which additional empirical data are most needed. Our analysis revealed important variation in output variables characterizing rabies dynamics, namely rabies persistence, exposure level, spatiotemporal distribution, and prevalence. Among epidemiological parameters, rabies transmission rate was the most influential, followed by rabies mortality and location, and size of the initial infection. The most influential landscape parameters included habitat-specific carrying capacities, landscape heterogeneity, and the level of resistance to dispersal associated with topography. Movement variables, including juvenile dispersal, adult fine-scale movement distances, and home range size, as well as life history traits such as age of independence, birth seasonality, and age- and sex-specific mortality were other important drivers of rabies dynamics. We discuss results in the context of mongoose ecology and its influence on disease transmission dynamics. Finally, we suggest empirical approaches and study design specificities that would provide optimal contributing data addressing the knowledge gaps identified by our approach, and would increase our potential to use epidemiological models to guide mongoose rabies control and management in the Caribbean.