Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Parasitol. 2008 Jul;24(7):304-9. doi: 10.1016/

Why apply ecological laws to epidemiology?

Author information

Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, CNRS, Département Génétique Environnement, CC065, Université Montpellier 2, 34095, Montpellier cedex 05, France.


Using ecological laws, or rules, is a useful strategy for epidemiological observations. The application of Taylor's power law to epidemiology and evolutionary ecology of parasites is exemplified here. Taylor's power law takes the form of s2=amb, where s2 is the variance in population abundance, m is the mean abundance of the population, a represents a constant parameter and b represents an index of spatial heterogeneity. Although Taylor's power law reflects the aggregation of parasite (or pathogen) individuals among host population, the values of b could reflect regulation processes in host-parasite systems. Illustrations are given showing how b value is linked to various epidemiological situations: pathogen emergence, the impact of vaccination or the level of host immune defence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center