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Bull Math Biol. 2007 Nov;69(8):2711-22. Epub 2007 Aug 15.

Optimal timing of disease transmission in an age-structured population.

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1
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. timothy@reluga.org

Abstract

It is a common medical folk-practice for parents to encourage their children to contract certain infectious diseases while they are young. This folk-practice is controversial, in part, because it contradicts the long-term public health goal of minimizing disease incidence. We study an epidemiological model of infectious disease in an age-structured population where virulence is age-dependent and show that, in some cases, the optimal behavior will increase disease transmission. This provides a rigorous justification of the concept of "endemic stability," and demonstrates that folk-practices may have been historically justified.

PMID:
17701261
DOI:
10.1007/s11538-007-9238-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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