A host in the context of infectious disease refers to an animal or plant that acts as a biological refuge in which another - often parasitic - organism may dwell. The host usually provides shelter or nourishment to the other organism, which may use the host to partially/completely sexually develop 1.
Non-parasitic relationships are seen, for example in humans the commensal organisms of the gut (microbiome).
Types of hosts
- accidental host
- a host that shelters an organism which does not usually parasitize that host
- incidental host (a.k.a. dead-end host)
- a host that shelters an organism but is unable to transmit the organism to a different host
- primary host (a.k.a. definitive/final host)
- a host in which an organism partially/completely sexually develops
- reservoir host
- a host that shelters an organism without harm to itself
- 1. William Alexander Newman Dorland. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. (2018) ISBN: 9781416023647
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