This chapter elaborates on the special case of age structure. Especially in the context of infectious diseases among humans, “age” is often used to characterize individuals. Partly this reflects our system of public health administration (and, perhaps, our preoccupation with age). There is, however, a more “mechanistic” reason to incorporate age structure: patterns of human social behavior and sexual activity correlate with age. In addition, the effect that the infective agent has on the host sometimes depends heavily on the age of the host (e.g., in polio) or it may depend on another aspect of the host, such as pregnancy, which correlates with age (e.g., in rubella). The chapter also discusses vaccination strategies as one of the major applied issues of age-structured epidemic models.
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