Modeling the Spread of Curly Top Disease in Tomatoes
Curly Top disease (CT), caused by a family of curtoviruses, infects a wide variety of agricultural crops. Historically, CT has caused extensive damage in tomato crops resulting in substantial economic loss for the tomato industry. Control methods for CT are scarce, and methods for predicting and assessing the scope of CT outbreaks are limited. In this paper, we formulate a stochastic model for the spread of CT in a heterogeneous environment, which consists of beet plants, the preferred hosts, and tomato plants. The model is composed of two susceptible classes and two infected classes, where the beet plants are the primary reservoir of the pathogen. We parameterize the model using data from a field experiment and assess the variability of CT incidence in tomato plants at any point in time through extensive simulations.