Organisational immunity

Preventing disease spread

Pathogens use the social interaction networks of their hosts for transmission to new host individuals. Social insect colonies react to pathogen entry into the colony by re-organisation of their social interaction networks. Contaminated ants, but also their peers, reduce contact to the remaining colony members. This leads to a highly efficient reduction of disease spread through the colony.

Read more on how social insects use organizational immunity to protect their colonies against epidemics:


Research Article
Stroeymeyt N, Grasse AV, Crespi A, Mersch DP, Cremer S, Keller L
(2018) Social network plasticity decreases disease transmission in a eusocial insect
Review Article
Stroeymeyt N, Casillas-Pérez B, Cremer S
(2014) Organisational immunity in social insects
Current Opinion in Insect Science

The concept

Sanitary care

Nest hygiene

Treating infection

Social immunisation

Organisational immunity