Numerical simulation of a susceptible-exposed-infectious space-continuous model for the spread of rabies in raccoons across a realistic landscape
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We introduce a numerical model for the spread of a lethal infectious disease in wildlife. The reference model is a Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious system where the spatial component of the dynamics is modelled by a diffusion process. The goal is to develop a model to be used for real geographical scenarios, so we do not rely upon simplifying assumptions on the shape of the region of interest. For this reason, space discretization is carried out with the finite element method on an unstructured triangulation. A diffusion term is designed to take into account landscape heterogeneities such as mountains and waterways. Numerical simulations are carried out for rabies epidemics among raccoons in New York state. A qualitative comparison of numerical results to available data from real-world epidemics is discussed.