, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 529-539

The saturating contact rate in marriage- and epidemic models

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In this note we show how to derive, by a mechanistic argument, an expression for the saturating contact rate of individual contacts in a population that mixes randomly. The main assumption is that the individual interaction times are typically short as compared to the time-scale of changes in, for example, individual-type, but that the interactions yet make up a considerable fraction of the time-budget of an individual. In special cases an explicit formula for the contact rate is obtained. The result is applied to mathematical epidemiology and marriage models.