Ecological triad


The ecological triad is the reciprocal influence between agent, host, and epidemiological environment, which intervene to result in a disease.

Thus, the ecological triad is the interaction of 3 factors, from which there is a transmission mechanism that produces a disease.

It is usually represented with a triangle figure, to graphically show the relationships between the 3 elements.

Importance of the ecological triad

It is extremely important to study the ecological triad, because through the formulation of models it is possible to know the correlation between the 3 elements and from this to know the possibility of the spread of diseases, such as COVID-19, by locating the patterns that are presented to be able to fight diseases or even prevent them.

Elements of the ecological triad

The factors or elements that interact with each other, within the ecological triad. They are, in detail, the following:

Agent: It refers to who attacks, it can be a harmful substance because it is capable of starting a disease. It is classified in:

  • Biological: Which can be viruses, bacteria, fungi, toxins and / or parasites.
  • Chemicals: They can be secondary effects when supplying drugs, substances that are toxic such as insecticides, gases, alcohol, poisons of plants or animals.
  • Physical: These can be due to changes in temperature, radiation or electricity.
  • Nutrients: For example, anemia due to poor nutrition or obesity due to poor nutrition as well.
  • Psychological: It occurs due to stress, anxiety, frustration, fear.

Guest: Who is attacked. Any living being that is invaded by disease.

The characteristics that a host has is what makes it an easy target or makes it difficult for the agent to invade. Those characteristics can be:

  • Age: For example, in human beings there are diseases in which children are more at risk of contracting them.
  • Exposure time: It occurs when the transmission is directly proportional to the time in which the living being is at risk of contagion, for example.
  • Hormonal balance or imbalance: This corresponds to the hormonal level.
  • Previous diseases: If the individual has already had this disease previously and has developed defenses so it is unlikely that they will get sick again.
  • Heredity: It occurs if there is a disease whose probability of occurrence is related to the individual's genetics or not.
  • Resistance or susceptibility: There are individuals who generate a certain strength or fragility in the face of the possibility of becoming ill.

Environment: In what place or environment it attacks. They can be classified into:

  • Physical: In which the climate, altitude, geography, air quality in the area intervene.
  • Biological: It is related to the nature of the area where the individual lives, such as flora and / or fauna.
  • Social: They can be uses and customs that affect the health of the individual, such as religion, social status, family and / or work circles.

Some examples of environment are:

  • Hospitals.
  • Nursing homes
  • Work centers.
  • Farmlands.

Ecological triad example

Here is an example of an ecological triad:

  • The agent is the virus.
  • The environment is a hospital.
  • And the host is a person who is infected by long exposure to the virus with a disease-sensitive immune system.

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