Four categories of host-pathogen dynamics. Arrows indicate the desired direction for an effective disease mitigation strategy. Here infection and the effects of infection are distinguished, and the host-pathogen interaction is placed within an environmental context. The epidemiological triad of environment, host, and pathogen produces complex interactions affecting health and disease such that each of the dynamics and the disease outcome may vary in different environments. In general, disease is a product of host susceptibility and parasite pathogenicity in a given environment. Susceptibility and pathogenicity each have two basic components relating to the probability of infection and the host fitness effects of infection. Host susceptibility is described by the relative resistance to becoming infected, and the relative tolerance of the host (controlling disease development ). Tolerance can be described "as the ability to limit the health or fitness consequences of a given parasite burden" and can be statistically quantified . Likewise, parasite pathogenicity is described by the relative ability to infect a host (infectivity), and the relative severity of disease (virulence). Some studies predict the fixation of tolerance genes in affected populations, and the maintenance of polymorphism in resistance [123,242]. Disease control strategies can manage for levels of resistance, tolerance, infectivity, or virulence. Here, transmission is considered a component of infectivity.
Woodhams et al. Frontiers in Zoology 2011 8:8 doi:10.1186/1742-9994-8-8