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Epidemic Models

Environmental Policy and Regulation

  1. Valerie Isham

Published Online: 15 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vae046.pub2

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Isham, V. 2013. Epidemic Models . Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 2.

Author Information

  1. University College London, Department of Statistical Science, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2013


Mathematical modeling of infectious diseases has a long and distinguished history and is one of the most successsful areas of mathematical biology. Understanding the dynamics of the spread of an infection brings possibilities for its control. Human infections such as influenza, malaria, and HIV are still major worldwide causes of morbidity and mortality. In 2003, a new infection, SARS, spread rapidly around the world, with considerable transmission taking place before the infection was even recognized. In such situations, a large-scale epidemic can only be avoided if strict control strategies are imposed quickly. A clear understanding of the basic theory of epidemic models is a prerequisite for this and, equally, for informing the development of the successful vaccination policies against a wide range of infections in routine use around the world. This article provides a brief introduction to that theory and to some natural extensions of the simple models and the practical concerns that they are designed to address.


  • epidemic models;
  • transmission dynamics;
  • infectious diseases;
  • SIR models;
  • thresholds;
  • contact networks;
  • population heterogeneity;
  • heterogeneity of mixing