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J Theor Biol. 2006 Apr 7;239(3):289-97. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Parameterization of individual-based models: comparisons with deterministic mean-field models.

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Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.


The relating of deterministic, mean-field models into network models, where epidemic spread occurs between interconnected susceptible and infectious individuals or populations, requires careful consideration. Here, we discuss models that consider differently the manner in which contact rate and infectiousness change over time, with different algorithms suitable for different underlying processes. Though these models give coincidental results to the mean-field in the case of large, highly connected networks, the results when sparsely connected networks are considered may differ. Different subsets of the parameters from the mean-field epidemic (R(0), generation time, infectiousness, etc.) are preserved in each case. Despite these differences, simulated epidemics generated under some model architectures are insensitive to the average degree of contact amongst nodes, k. Model-based estimates of k may be model dependent, and must therefore be viewed with caution.

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