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A model for the spread of two strains of a pathogen leading to an infection with variable infectivity is considered. The course of infection is described by two stages with different infectivity levels. The model is extended to account for treatment by including a third stage with different infectivity and survival for those treated. The contribution of each stage to incidence and prevalence is investigated and the effect of infectivity and survival on the basic reproduction ratio is examined. Standard equilibrium analysis is performed for both models, revealing that the successful strain is the one with highest reproduction ratio. If therapy, however, is more effective against the strain that wins in the absence of treatment and its reproduction ratio is sufficiently reduced, it might be outcompeted by the other strain after treatment becomes widely available. In this case, early introduction of treatment can prevent a major outbreak.

Original publication




Journal article


Math Biosci

Publication Date





153 - 172


Communicable Diseases, Disease Outbreaks, Humans, Models, Biological, Virulence