Early Real-Time Estimation of the Basic Reproduction Number of Emerging Infectious Diseases Academic Article uri icon

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  • When an infectious disease strikes a population, the number of newly reported cases is often the only available information that one can obtain during early stages of the outbreak. An important goal of early outbreak analysis is to obtain a reliable estimate for the basic reproduction number, $R_{0}$, from the limited information available. We present a novel method that enables us to make a reliable real-time estimate of the reproduction number at a much earlier stage compared to other available methods. Our method takes into account the possibility that a disease has a wide distribution of infectious period and that the degree distribution of the contact network is heterogeneous. We validate our analytical framework with numerical simulations.


  • Davoudi, Bahman
  • Miller, Joel C
  • Meza, Rafael
  • Meyers, Lauren Ancel
  • Earn, David
  • Pourbohloul, Babak

publication date

  • July 30, 2012