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Mathematical Tools for Understanding Infectious Disease Dynamics$
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Odo Diekmann, Hans Heesterbeek, and Tom Britton

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155395

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155395.001.0001

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The basic reproduction number

The basic reproduction number

(p.161) Chapter Seven The basic reproduction number
Mathematical Tools for Understanding Infectious Disease Dynamics

Odo Diekmann

Hans Heesterbeek

Tom Britton

Princeton University Press

The basic reproduction number (or ratio) R₀ is arguably the most important quantity in infectious disease epidemiology. It is among the quantities most urgently estimated for infectious diseases in outbreak situations, and its value provides insight when designing control interventions for established infections. From a theoretical point of view R₀ plays a vital role in the analysis of, and consequent insight from, infectious disease models. There is hardly a paper on dynamic epidemiological models in the literature where R₀ does not play a role. R₀ is defined as the average number of new cases of an infection caused by one typical infected individual, in a population consisting of susceptibles only. This chapter shows how R₀ can be characterized mathematically and provides detailed examples of its calculation in terms of parameters of epidemiological models, culminating in a set of algorithms (or “recipes”) for the calculation for compartmental epidemic systems.

Keywords:   structured population models, reproduction number, epidemiological models, compartmental epidemic systems, infectious disease epidemiology, infectious diseases, outbreak situations

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