Estimating the basic reproduction number at the beginning of an outbreak

11 Jul 2018, 16:00
New Law School/--106 (University of Sydney)

New Law School/--106

University of Sydney

Oral Presentation Minisymposium: Reproduction Numbers Reproduction numbers


Ms Sawitree Boonpatcharanon (York University)


The basic reproduction number, $R_0$, is a key quantity allowing public health officials to track how quickly an outbreak spreads through a population. In this talk, we compare several different estimators of $R_0$ assuming that only weekly data is available, with a focus on the early stages of an outbreak. We compare four estimators: a variant on maximum likelihood, incidence decay, incidence decay with exponential adjustment, and partially observed Markov process approaches. Our simulations concentrate on a flu epidemic, and several different scenarios are considered. In particular, we study also the setting of model misspecification, when one model structure is fit to data generated by a different model. Benefits and drawbacks of each $R_0$ estimator will be discusssed.

Primary authors

Ms Sawitree Boonpatcharanon (York University) Prof. Jane Heffernan (York University) Prof. Hanna Jankowski (York University)

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