Theoretical analysis of mixed Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium falciparum infections with partial cross-immunity
A deterministic model for assessing the dynamics of mixed species malaria infections in a human population is presented to investigate the effects of dual infection with Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium falciparum. Qualitative analysis of the model including positivity and boundedness is performed. In addition to the disease free equilibrium, we show that there exists a boundary equilibrium corresponding to each species. The isolation reproductive number of each species is computed as well as the reproductive number of the full model. Conditions for global stability of the disease free equilibrium as well as local stability of the boundary equilibria are derived. The model has an interior equilibrium which exists if at least one of the isolation reproductive numbers is greater than unity. Among the interesting dynamical behaviours of the model, the phenomenon of backward bifurcation where a stable boundary equilibrium coexists with a stable interior equilibrium, for a certain range of the associated invasion reproductive number less than unity is observed. Results from analysis of the model show that, when cross-immunity between the two species is weak, there is a high probability of coexistence of the two species and when cross-immunity is strong, competitive exclusion is high. Further, an increase in the reproductive number of species i increases the stability of its boundary equilibrium and its ability to invade an equilibrium of species j. Numerical simulations support our analytical conclusions and illustrate possible behaviour scenarios of the model. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.