3.2 Infecting Multiple Host Species

Some pathogens are called multi-host pathogens—they infect multiple species as opposed to explicitly targeting one. These pathogens vary in their kind and transmission methods. They can spread through direct (i.e., rabies, influenza) and indirect transmission to vector-borne transmission (i.e., Lyme disease).

Infecting multiple species allows pathogens to persist in the community and mutate adaptively. They can survive the defense mechanisms against them by persisting in multiple species and mutating to bypass the immunity of various related species.

Various modes of transmission then also help the pathogen spread faster in a population. For example, if a pathogen can spread directly and also through a vector, the rate at which it spreads and persists in a host population is increased exponentially.

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