A rigorous approach to investigating common assumptions about disease transmission

McCaig, Chris and Begon, M. and Norman, R. and Shankland, C. (2011) A rigorous approach to investigating common assumptions about disease transmission. Theory in Biosciences, 130 (1). pp. 19-29. ISSN 1431-7613

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Abstract

Changing scale, for example, the ability to move seamlessly from an individual-based model to a population-based model, is an important problem in many fields. In this paper, we introduce process algebra as a novel solution to this problem in the context of models of infectious disease spread. Process algebra allows us to describe a system in terms of the stochastic behaviour of individuals, and is a technique from computer science. We review the use of process algebra in biological systems, and the variety of quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques available. The analysis illustrated here solves the changing scale problem: from the individual behaviour we can rigorously derive equations to describe the mean behaviour of the system at the level of the population. The biological problem investigated is the transmission of infection, and how this relates to individual interactions.