Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Anderson-May model of human parasite infections and specifically that for the intestinal worm Ascaris lumbricoides is reconsidered, with a view to deriving the observed characteristic negative binomial distribution which is frequently found in human communities. The means to obtaining this result lies in reformulating the continuous Anderson-May model as a stochastic process involving two essential populations, the density of mature worms in the gut, and the density of mature eggs in the environment. The resulting partial differential equation for the generating function of the joint probability distribution of eggs and worms can be partially solved in the appropriate limit where the worm lifetime is much greater than that of the mature eggs in the environment. Allowing for a mean field nonlinearity, and for egg immigration from neighbouring communities, a negative binomial worm distribution can be predicted, whose parameters are determined by those in the continuous Anderson-May model; this result assumes no variability in predisposition to the infection.

Original publication




Journal article


Bulletin of mathematical biology

Publication Date





815 - 833


MACSI, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.


Digestive System, Animals, Humans, Ascaris lumbricoides, Ascariasis, Parasite Egg Count, Binomial Distribution, Stochastic Processes, Nonlinear Dynamics, Models, Biological, Mathematical Concepts