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The estimation of age-related rates of infection from case notifications and serological data

  • B. T. Grenfell (a1) and R. M. Anderson (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 19 October 2009

The paper describes a maximum-likelihood method for the estimation of age-related changes in the per capita rate of infection, from case notification records or serological data. The methods are applied to records of measles incidence in the UK and USA, for which the estimated rates of infection tend to rise to a maximum value at around 10 years of age and then to decline in the older age-classes. Longer-term and seasonal trends are analysed by reference to changes in the estimated average age at infection; a statistic derived from a knowledge of the age-specific rates of infection. Future data needs in the epidemiological study of directly transmitted viral and bacterial diseases are discussed with reference to the detection and interpretation of age-dependent rates of disease transmission.

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R. M. Anderson (1982). Directly transmitted viral ami bacterial infections of man. In Population Dynamics of Infectious Disease Agents: Theory and Applications (ed. R. M. Ander-Hon ), pp. 137. London: Chapman and Hall.

R. M. Anderson & R. M. May (1982). Directly transmitted infectious diseases: control by vaccination. Science 215, 1953–1060.

P. E. M. Fine & J. A. Clarkson (1982a). Measles in England and Wales. I. An analysis of the factors underlying seasonal patterns. International Journal of Epidemiology 11, 514.

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E. S. Godfrey (1928). The age distribution of communicable diseases according to size of community. American Journal of Public Health 18, 616631.

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E. Sydenstricker (1928). The incidence of various diseases according to age. Public Health Reports 43, 11241156.

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