Abstract

In this study, we develop a bioeconomic model of human alveolar echinococcosis (HAE) and formulate the optimal strategies for managing the infection risks in humans by applying optimal control theory. The model has the following novel features: (i) the complex transmission cycle of HAE has been tractably incorporated into the framework of optimal control problems and (ii) the volume of vermifuge spreading to manage the risk is considered a control variable. With this model, we first obtain the stability conditions for the transmission dynamics under the condition of constant control. Second, we explicitly introduce a control variable of vermifuge spreading into the analysis by considering the associated control costs. In this optimal control problem, we have successfully derived a set of conditions for a bang-bang control and singular control, which are mainly characterized by the prevalence of infection in voles and foxes and the remaining time of control. The analytical results are demonstrated by numerical analysis and we discuss the effects of the parameter values on the optimal strategy and the transmission cycle. We find that when the prevalence of infection in foxes is low and the prevalence of infection in voles is sufficiently high, the optimal strategy is to expend no effort in vermifuge spreading.