Virulence and transmissibility of pathogens: what is the relationship?

Trends Microbiol. 1997 Jan;5(1):31-7. doi: 10.1016/S0966-842X(97)81772-6.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Bacterial Infections / transmission*
  • Fungi / pathogenicity*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Mycoses / transmission*
  • Parasites / pathogenicity*
  • Parasitic Diseases / transmission*
  • Public Health Administration
  • Virulence
  • Virus Diseases / transmission*
  • Viruses / pathogenicity*