Volume 75, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


We assess the consequences of competition for red blood cells (RBCs) in co-infections with the two major agents of human malaria, and , using differential equations to model the population dynamics of RBCs and parasites. parasitizes only the youngest RBCs, but this can reduce the broader RBC population susceptible to . We found that competition for RBCs typically causes one species to suppress the other, depending on their relative reproduction rates and timing of inoculation. However, if the species’ reproduction rates are nearly equal, transient increases in RBC production stimulated by the presence of may boost parasitemia above its single-species infection level. Conversely, parasitemia is rarely enhanced above its single-species level. Furthermore, transients in RBC production can induce coupled oscillations in the parasitemia of both species. These results are remarkably robust to changes in model parameters.


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  • Received : 24 Jun 2005
  • Accepted : 22 Feb 2006

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