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Acta Biotheor. 2002;50(3):189-204.

A brief history of R0 and a recipe for its calculation.

Author information

  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht, Quantitative Veterinary Epidemiology Group, The Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • Acta Biotheor. 2002;50(4):375-6..


In this paper I present the genesis of R0 in demography, ecology and epidemiology, from embryo to its current adult form. I argue on why it has taken so long for the concept to mature in epidemiology when there were ample opportunities for cross-fertilisation from demography and ecology from where it reached adulthood fifty years earlier. Today, R0 is a more fully developed adult in epidemiology than in demography. In the final section I give an algorithm for its calculation in heterogeneous populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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