Dec 14, 2017

The influence of related and unrelated co-infections on parasite dynamics and virulence

Oecologia
A M GleichsnerDennis J Minchella

Abstract

Many parasitic infections increase the morbidity and mortality of host populations. Interactions between co-infecting parasites can influence virulence, the damage done to a host. Previous studies investigating the impacts of parasite co-infection on hosts have been limited by their inability to control parasite dosage, use consistent virulence metrics, or verify co-infection status. This study used molecular tools, known infection dosage, and multiple assessments over time to test whether parasite relatedness can predict virulence in co-infections, as well as whether competitive interactions between different parasite strains within a host are predictable over time. In addition, we examined the impacts of other parasite traits, such as infectivity, as alternative predictors of virulence and competition outcomes. Hosts with single-strain (related) parasite infections were found to have lower virulence in terms of host and parasite reproduction, supporting kin selection predictions. However, these infections also resulted in higher host mortality. We argue that mortality should not be used as a measurement of virulence in parasite systems that castrate hosts. Hosts were more susceptible to mixed strain (unrelated) parasite infec...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Host-Parasite Interactions
LGV1
Morbidity Aspects
Pathogenicity
Coinfection
Reproduction
Secondary Infections
Evaluation
Virulence

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