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The ABC of terms used in mathematical models of infectious diseases
  1. Sharmistha Mishra1,2,
  2. David N Fisman3,
  3. Marie-Claude Boily2,4
  1. 1Division of Infectious Diseases, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  2. 2School of Public Health, Imperial College, London, UK
  3. 3Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  4. 4Unité de recherche en santé des populations de l'Université Laval Centre hospitalier affilié universitaire de Québec, Laval, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marie-Claude Boily, Division of Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care, Imperial College, G30 16 South Wharf Road, St Mary's Campus, London W2 1PG, UK; mc.boily{at}


Mathematical models that incorporate a dynamic risk of infection figure prominently in the study of infectious diseases epidemiology as a tool to inform public health policy. In recent years, their use has expanded to address methodological questions, inform and validate study design and evaluate interventions. This glossary briefly highlights the applications of transmission dynamics modelling, explains different modelling methodologies and defines commonly encountered terms to provide an introductory and conceptual understanding of the vocabulary and frameworks used in the literature.

  • Infectious DI
  • modelling ME

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  • Funding SM is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Public Health Agency of Canada Fellowship programme

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.