A Note on Observation Processes in Epidemic Models
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Many disease models focus on characterizing the underlying transmission mechanism but make simple, possibly naive assumptions about how infections are reported. In this note, we use a simple deterministic Susceptible-Infected-Removed (SIR) model to compare two common assumptions about disease incidence reports: Individuals can report their infection as soon as they become infected or as soon as they recover. We show that incorrect assumptions about the underlying observation processes can bias estimates of the basic reproduction number and lead to overly narrow confidence intervals.
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