Recurrent outbreaks of childhood diseases revisited: The impact of isolation

Zhilan Feng, Horst Thieme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


The recurrent outbreaks of measles and other childhood diseases have previously been explained by an interaction of intrinsic epidemiologic forces generating dampened oscillations and of seasonal and/or stochastic excitation. We show that isolation (i.e., sick individuals stay at home and have a reduced infective impact) can create self-sustained oscillations provided that the number of per capita contacts is largely independent of the number of individuals present. This means that the bilinear mass action term for disease incidence is modified by dividing it by the number of nonisolated individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-130
Number of pages38
JournalMathematical Biosciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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