Mathematical Models in Infectious Disease Epidemiology

  • Mirjam Kretzschmar
  • Jacco Wallinga
Part of the Statistics for Biology and Health book series (SBH)


The idea that transmission and spread of infectious diseases follows laws that can be formulated in mathematical language is old. In 1766 Daniel Bernoulli published an article where he described the effects of smallpox variolation (a precursor of vaccination) on life expectancy using mathematical life table analysis (Dietz and Heesterbeek 2000). However, it was only in the twentieth century that the nonlinear dynamics of infectious disease transmission was really understood. In the beginning of that century there was much discussion about why an epidemic ended before all susceptibles were infected with hypotheses about changing virulence of the pathogen during the epidemic.


Vaccination Coverage Reproduction Number Epidemic Modeling Infected Person Susceptible Population 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Julius Centre for Health Sciences and Primary CareUniversity Medical Centre UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Center for Infectious Disease ControlRIVMBilthovenThe Netherlands

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