Modeling Vaccination Strategies to Control White-Nose Syndrome in Little Brown Bat Colonies

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Alex Capaldi


Arts and Sciences


Mathematics and Statistics

ORCID Identifier(s)

0000-0003-2942-343X, 0000-0003-1739-6059, 0000-0003-2897-4248

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-31-2017


Since 2006, the North American bat population has been in rapid decline due to a disease, known as White-nose Syndrome (WNS), caused by an invasive fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans). The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) is the most affected bat by this emerging disease in North America. We consider how best to prevent local extinctions of this species using mathematical models. A new vaccine against WNS has been under development since 2017 and thus, we analyze the effects of implementing vaccination as a control measure. We create a Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Vaccinated hybrid ordinary differential equation and difference equation model informed by the phenology of little brown bats. We analyze various vaccination strategies to determine how to maximize bat survival with regard to realistic restrictions. Next, we perform a sensitivity analysis to determine the robustness of our results. Finally, we consider other possible control measures in union with vaccination to determine the optimal control strategy. We find vaccination to be the most promising control measure considered thus far.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Eva Cornwell is from Madison, WI and currently attends St. Olaf College where she expects to graduate in 2019. Eva plans to attend graduate school and study mathematical ecology.

David Elzinga is from St. Johns, MI and currently attends Wichita State University where he plans to graduate in 2018. David plans to attend graduate school and study mathematical ecology.

Shelby Stowe is from Bentonville, AR and currently attends Sterling College where she plans to graduate in 2019. Shelby plans to attend graduate school and study applied mathematics.

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