MMED 2016

Seventh annual Clinic on Meaningful Modeling of Epidemiological Data

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa
May 30 - June 10, 2016

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Host density and tsetse population dynamics


There is increasing interest in the effects of projected changes in global climate on the distribution of various vector-borne diseases. Most often studies in the area concern themselves solely with the disease and take little heed of changes in vector populations. Often this is because data on vector levels are scanty. For tsetse flies, however, there are some excellent data on vector populations. Moreover, there are data on how other, non-climatic, factors may effect these populations.

This group will analyse data from such a study, which examined changes in catches of the tsetse fly G. m. morsitans Westwood consequent on the destruction of mammalian hosts in a semi-closed habitat.

Things to consider

  • This group is recommended for:
    • Participants who are interested in tsetse and trypanosomiasis
    • Participants who are interested in modelling insect population dynamics
    • Participants who are interested in engaging, interpreting and analysing existing data
    • Participants who are interested in statistical analyses
  • This group will have the opportunity to engage in any of the following:
    • Obtain and clean data from published papers and reproducible research repositories
    • Understand and model how mammalian host density impacts tsetse survival probability and population growth rates
    • Make dynamical models of tsetse population growth


  • The experiment under consideration was carried out in Zimbabwe in the 1960s. A 600 km2 area of tsetse habitat, populated by large numbers of game animals, was fenced and all members of six species of mammal within the area were systematically shot over a 5-year period.
  • Over this period tsetse flies were sampled using an ox fly-round.
  • The idea is to model the changes in apparent tsetse density as a function of the numbers of hosts remaining in the area.


The following data sources and other resources will be made available to group members:

  • Nagupande Mammals shot by month & species
  • Nagupande Flyround catches of G. morsitans by month
  • Nagupande Simulation using Fisher equation
  • Meteorological data from the research station (as available)



  • Robertson, AG (1968) Nagupande selective hunting experiment. Unpublished Report. (available to project group, and upon request to other ICI3D participants)
  • Hargrove, JW & BG Williams (1998) Optimized simulation as an aid to modelling, with an application to the study of a population of tsetse flies, Glossina morsitans morsitans Westwood (Diptera: Glossinidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research 88: 425-435. (download)
  • Hargrove, JW (2003) Tsetse eradication: sufficiency, necessity and desirability. Research report, DFID Animal Health Programme, Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, UK. (download)
  • Hargrove, JW & DF Lovemore (2006) Simulation of tsetse control operations by selective hunting: the Nagupande experiment in Zimbabwe. Incomplete draft manuscript. (available to project group, and upon request to other ICI3D participants)