Quantifying the transmission potential of pandemic influenza

Gerardo Chowell, Hiroshi Nishiura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article reviews quantitative methods to estimate the basic reproduction number of pandemic influenza, a key threshold quantity to help determine the intensity of interventions required to control the disease. Although it is difficult to assess the transmission potential of a probable future pandemic, historical epidemiologic data is readily available from previous pandemics, and as a reference quantity for future pandemic planning, mathematical and statistical analyses of historical data are crucial. In particular, because many historical records tend to document only the temporal distribution of cases or deaths (i.e. epidemic curve), our review focuses on methods to maximize the utility of time-evolution data and to clarify the detailed mechanisms of the spread of influenza. First, we highlight structured epidemic models and their parameter estimation method which can quantify the detailed disease dynamics including those we cannot observe directly. Duration-structured epidemic systems are subsequently presented, offering firm understanding of the definition of the basic and effective reproduction numbers. When the initial growth phase of an epidemic is investigated, the distribution of the generation time is key statistical information to appropriately estimate the transmission potential using the intrinsic growth rate. Applications of stochastic processes are also highlighted to estimate the transmission potential using similar data. Critically important characteristics of influenza data are subsequently summarized, followed by our conclusions to suggest potential future methodological improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-77
Number of pages28
JournalPhysics of Life Reviews
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Fingerprint

influenza
Pandemics
pandemic
Human Influenza
Basic Reproduction Number
estimates
Stochastic Processes
Random processes
Parameter estimation
Statistical Data Interpretation
temporal distribution
stochastic processes
Growth
death
planning
quantitative analysis
Planning
disease control
duration
thresholds

Keywords

  • Basic reproduction number
  • Epidemiology
  • Influenza
  • Model
  • Pandemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Quantifying the transmission potential of pandemic influenza. / Chowell, Gerardo; Nishiura, Hiroshi.

In: Physics of Life Reviews, Vol. 5, No. 1, 03.2008, p. 50-77.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chowell, Gerardo ; Nishiura, Hiroshi. / Quantifying the transmission potential of pandemic influenza. In: Physics of Life Reviews. 2008 ; Vol. 5, No. 1. pp. 50-77.
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