A continuum model of the within-animal population dynamics of E-coli O157

J.C. Wood, D.C. Speirs, S.W. Naylor, G. Gettinby, I.J. McKendrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The high level of human morbidity caused by E. coli O157:H7 necessitates an improved understanding of the infection dynamics of this bacterium within the bovine reservoir. Until recently, a degree of uncertainty surrounded the issue of whether these bacteria colonize the bovine gut and as yet, only incomplete in-vivo datasets are available. Such data typically consist of bacterial counts from fecal samples. The development of a deterministic model, which has been devised to make good use of such data, is presented. A partial differential equation, which includes advection, diffusion and growth terms, is used to model the (unobserved) passage of bacteria through the bovine gut. A set of experimentally-obtained fecal count data is used to parameterize the model. Between-animal variability is found to be greater than between-strain variability, with some results adding further weight to the hypothesis that E. coli O157:H7 can colonize the bovine gastrointestinal tract.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-443
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Biological Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • advection-diffusion equation
  • method of lines
  • triangular distribution
  • maximum likelihood
  • E. coli O157


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