Skip to main content
Log in

Effective population size in simple infectious disease models

  • Published:
Journal of Mathematical Biology Aims and scope Submit manuscript
  • 1 Altmetric

Abstract

Almost all models used in analysis of infectious disease outbreaks contain some notion of population size, usually taken as the census population size of the community in question. In many settings, however, the census population is not equivalent to the population likely to be exposed, for example if there are population structures, outbreak controls or other heterogeneities. Although these factors may be taken into account in the model: adding compartments to a compartmental model, variable mixing rates and so on, this makes fitting more challenging, especially if the population complexities are not fully known. In this work we consider the concept of effective population size in outbreak modelling, which we define as the size of the population involved in an outbreak, as an alternative to use of more complex models. Effective population size is an important quantity in genetics for estimation of genetic diversity loss in populations, but it has not been widely applied in epidemiology. Through simulation studies and application to data from outbreaks of COVID-19 in China, we find that simple SIR models with effective population size can provide a good fit to data which are not themselves simple or SIR.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

Similar content being viewed by others

Data availability

Data and relevant code for this research work are available on GitHub at https://github.com/Yemaye/effectivepopulation (Yerlanov 2021).

References

Download references

Funding

This work was supported by the Federal Government of Canada’s Canada 150 Research Chair program.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jessica E. Stockdale.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interests

The authors have no competing interests to declare.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary Materials:

Online Resource 1 contains information and results concerning outbreak simulation and COVID-19 data selection criteria. (pdf 1,838KB)

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yerlanov, M., Agarwal, P., Colijn, C. et al. Effective population size in simple infectious disease models. J. Math. Biol. 87, 80 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00285-023-02016-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00285-023-02016-1

Keywords

Mathematics Subject Classification

Navigation