Modeling super-spreading events for infectious diseases: Case study SARS

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Super-spreading events for infectious diseases occur when some infected individuals infect more than the average number of secondary cases. Several super-spreading individuals have been identified for the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). We develop a model for super spreading events of infectious diseases, which is based on the outbreak of SARS. Using this model we describe two methods for estimating the parameters of the model, which we demonstrate with the small-scale SARS outbreak at the Amoy Gardens, Hong Kong, and the large-scale outbreak in the entire Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. One method is based on parameters calculated for the classical susceptible - infected - removed (SIR) disease model. The second is based on parameter estimates found in the literature. Using the parameters calculated for the SIR model, our model predicts an outcome similar to that for the SIR model. On the other hand, using parameter estimates from SARS literature our model predicts a much more serious epidemic.


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