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Integrating Infection Intensity into Within- and Between-Host Pathogen Dynamics: Implications for Invasion and Virulence Evolution.

Authors
  • Wilber, Mark Q
  • Pfab, Ferdinand
  • Ohmer, Michel E
  • Briggs, Cheryl J
Type
Published Article
Journal
The American Naturalist
Publisher
The University of Chicago Press
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2021
Volume
198
Issue
6
Pages
661–677
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1086/716914
PMID: 34762573
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

AbstractInfection intensity can dictate disease outcomes but is typically ignored when modeling infection dynamics of microparasites (e.g., bacteria, virus, and fungi). However, for a number of pathogens of wildlife typically categorized as microparasites, accounting for infection intensity and within-host infection processes is critical for predicting population-level responses to pathogen invasion. Here, we develop a modeling framework we refer to as reduced-dimension host-parasite integral projection models (reduced IPMs) that we use to explore how within-host infection processes affect the dynamics of pathogen invasion and virulence evolution. We find that individual-level heterogeneity in pathogen load-a nearly ubiquitous characteristic of host-parasite interactions that is rarely considered in models of microparasites-generally reduces pathogen invasion probability and dampens virulence-transmission trade-offs in host-parasite systems. The latter effect likely contributes to widely predicted virulence-transmission trade-offs being difficult to observe empirically. Moreover, our analyses show that intensity-dependent host mortality does not always induce a virulence-transmission trade-off, and systems with steeper than linear relationships between pathogen intensity and host mortality rate are significantly more likely to exhibit these trade-offs. Overall, reduced IPMs provide a useful framework to expand our theoretical and data-driven understanding of how within-host processes affect population-level disease dynamics.

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