Evolution and emergence of novel human infections

01 August 2009

Nim Arinaminpathy and Angela McLean

Proceedings of the Royal Society B doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1059 Published online

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Some zoonotic pathogens cause sporadic infection in humans but rarely propagate further, while others have succeeded in overcoming the species barrier and becoming established in the human population. Adaptation, driven by selection pressure in human hosts, can play a significant role in allowing pathogens to cross this species barrier. Here we use a simple mathematical model to study potential epidemiological markers of adaptation. We ask: under what circumstances could ongoing adaptation be signalled by large clusters of human infection?