Posts Tagged 'Epidemiology'

Reducing R-naught to stem the spread of Epidemics

Vaccine-1We are reminded each year to get vaccinated against the influenza virus. The severity of the annual outbreak is not known with certainty in advance, but a major pandemic is bound to occur sooner or later. Mathematical models play an indispensable role in understanding and managing infectious diseases. Models vary in sophistication from the simple SIR model with just three variables to highly complex simulation models with millions of variables [TM134 or search for “thatsmaths” at]. Continue reading ‘Reducing R-naught to stem the spread of Epidemics’


This week, That’s Maths (TM006) describes the use of mathematical models to study the spread of infections like the SARS epidemic and swine flu.

Simple models such as the SIR model of Kermack and McKendrick (1927) can simulate the broad features of epidemics, but much more sophisticated models have been developed using the same approach.

For an elementary introduction to the mthematics of modelling infectious diseases, see Epidemic Modelling, by D. J. Daley and J. Gani, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999.


The End of Smallpox

Daniel Bernoulli was born in 1700 into a remarkably talented family. He excelled in mathematics, but also studied and lectured in medicine, botany and physics. In 1760, he submitted a paper to the Academy of Sciences in Paris dealing with the effects of inoculation on morbidity. Continue reading ‘The End of Smallpox’

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