A competitive exclusion principle for pathogen virulence

H. J. Bremermann, Horst Thieme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

292 Scopus citations


For a modified Anderson and May model of host parasite dynamics it is shown that infections of different levels of virulence die out asymptotically except those that optimize the basic reproductive rate of the causative parasite. The result holds under the assumption that infection with one strain of parasite precludes additional infections with other strains. Technically, the model includes an environmental carrying capacity for the host. A threshold condition is derived which decides whether or not the parasites persist in the host population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalJournal Of Mathematical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1989


  • Co-evolution
  • Commensalism
  • Evolution of virulence
  • Extinction
  • Multi-strain epidemic model
  • Myxomatosis
  • Persistence
  • Stable endemic equilibrium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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