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Trends Microbiol. 1997 Jan;5(1):31-7.

Virulence and transmissibility of pathogens: what is the relationship?

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  • 1Dept of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. lipsitch@biology.


The fitness of most pathogenic microorganisms depends on transmission from host to host. This requires adaptation for dissemination, translocation and survival between hosts, as well as for colonization. A complex relationship exists between these components of microbial fitness and virulence. Understanding this relationship has important implications for research and public health.

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