Individual-based perspectives on R0

Matt J. Keeling, Bryan T. Grenfell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Without doubt the basic reproductive ratio, R0, is the most widely used quantity in epidemic theory. Standard compartmental models show how R0 is related to the average age of infection, vaccination thresholds for eradication and equilibrium solutions. However, many of the basic formulae for R0 break down when we consider transmission of infection to be a stochastic process involving discrete individuals. This paper clarifies why and when these differences arise and predicts when individual-based considerations are likely to be important in modelling infection dynamics. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 7 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Applied Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation


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