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In most pathogens, multiple strains are maintained within host populations. Quantifying the mechanisms underlying strain coexistence would aid public health planning and improve understanding of disease dynamics. We argue that mathematical models of strain coexistence, when applied to indistinguishable strains, should meet criteria for both ecological neutrality and population genetic neutrality. We show that closed clonal transmission models which can be written in an "ancestor-tracing" form that meets the former criterion will also satisfy the latter. Neutral models can be a parsimonious starting point for studying mechanisms of strain coexistence; implications for past and future studies are discussed.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.epidem.2008.07.001

Type

Journal article

Journal

Epidemics

Publication Date

03/2009

Volume

1

Pages

2 - 13

Addresses

Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA. mlipsitc@hsph.harvard.edu

Keywords

Humans, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pneumococcal Infections, Ecosystem, Drug Resistance, Bacterial, Models, Biological