Data from: Contact networks structured by sex underpin sex-specific epidemiology of infection
Silk, Matthew J. et al. (2018), Data from: Contact networks structured by sex underpin sex-specific epidemiology of infection, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.s1502
Contact networks are fundamental to the transmission of infection and host sex often affects the acquisition and progression of infection. However, the epidemiological impacts of sex-related variation in animal contact networks have rarely been investigated. We test the hypothesis that sex-biases in infection are related to variation in multilayer contact networks structured by sex in a population of European badgers Meles meles naturally infected with Mycobacterium bovis. Our key results are that male-male and between-sex networks are structured at broader spatial scales than female-female networks and that in male-male and between-sex contact networks, but not female-female networks, there is a significant relationship between infection and contacts with individuals in other groups. These sex differences in social behaviour may underpin male-biased acquisition of infection and may result in males being responsible for more between-group transmission. This highlights the importance of sex-related variation in host behaviour when managing animal diseases.