Thursday, 16 April 2015

Infectious ants become antisocial

Date:
April 14, 2015

Source:
Institute of Science and Technology Austria

Summary:
Combining experiments and epidemiological modeling, scientists explore how cleaning behavior affects disease spread in societies.

Looking after yourself, and trying not to infect others, is a good strategy to prevent disease from spreading -- not only if you are a considerate co-worker, but also if you are an ant, meerkat or other social animal, as revealed by an epidemiological model developed by the groups of Professor Fabian Theis from the Helmholtz Center Munich and Professor Sylvia Cremer from the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria. In a Theme Issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B on "The Society-Health-Fitness Nexus" published on 13 April 2015, they combine observations of hygienic interaction networks within ant colonies with epidemiological modeling to conclude that this strategy is best to prevent disease spread in social animal groups.

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