Concept

Force of infection

Summary
In epidemiology, force of infection (denoted \lambda) is the rate at which susceptible individuals acquire an infectious disease. Because it takes account of susceptibility it can be used to compare the rate of transmission between different groups of the population for the same infectious disease, or even between different infectious diseases. That is to say, \lambda is directly proportional to \beta; the effective transmission rate. : \lambda = \frac {\mbox{number of new infections}} {\mbox{number of susceptible persons exposed} \times \mbox{average duration of exposure}} Such a calculation is difficult because not all new infections are reported, and it is often difficult to know how many susceptibles were exposed. However, \lambda can be calculated for an infectious disease in an endemic state if homogeneous mixing of the population and a rectangular population distribution (such as that generally found in develop
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