Impact of age-dependent relapse and immunity on malaria dynamics

Katia Vogt-Geisse, Christina Lorenzo, Zhilan Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


An age-structured mathematical model for malaria is presented. The model explicitly includes the human and mosquito populations, structured by chronological age of humans. The infected human population is divided into symptomatic infectious, asymptomatic infectious and asymptomatic chronic infected individuals. The original partial differential equation (PDE) model is reduced to an ordinary differential equation (ODE) model with multiple age groups coupled by aging. The basic reproduction number R0 is derived for the PDE model and the age group model in the case of general n age groups. We assume that infectiousness of chronic infected individuals gets triggered by bites of even susceptible mosquitoes. Our analysis points out that this assumption contributes greatly to the R0 expression and therefore needs to be further studied and understood. Numerical simulations for n = 2 age groups and a sensitivity/uncertainty analysis are presented. Results suggest that it is important not only to consider asymptomatic infectious individuals as a hidden cause for malaria transmission, but also asymptomatic chronic infections (>60%), which often get neglected due to undetectable parasite loads. These individuals represent an important reservoir for future human infectiousness. By considering age-dependent immunity types, the model helps generate insight into effective control measures, by targeting age groups in an optimal way.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1340001
JournalJournal of Biological Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Age-structure
  • Endemic Model
  • Malaria
  • Reproductive Number
  • Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis


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