We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Publication details

Devenish-Nelson, E.S., Richards, S.A., Harris, S., Soulsbury, C.D. & Stephens, P.A. (2014). Demonstrating frequency-dependent transmission of sarcoptic mange in red foxes. Biology Letters 10(10): 20140524.

Author(s) from Durham


Understanding the relationship between disease transmission and host density is essential for predicting disease spread and control. Using long-term data on sarcoptic mange in a red fox Vulpes vulpes population, we tested long-held assumptions of density- and frequency-dependent direct disease transmission. We also assessed the role of indirect transmission. Contrary to assumptions typical of epidemiological models, mange dynamics are better explained by frequency-dependent disease transmission than by density-dependent transmission in this canid. We found no support for indirect transmission. We present the first estimates of R0 and age-specific transmission coefficients for mange in foxes. These parameters are important for managing this poorly understood but highly contagious and economically damaging disease.