The many guises of R0 (a didactic note)

J. M. Cushing, Odo Diekmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The basic reproduction number R0 is, by definition, the expected life time number of offspring of a newborn individual. An operationalization entails a specification of what events are considered as “reproduction” and what events are considered as “transitions from one individual-state to another”. Thus, an element of choice can creep into the concretization of the definition. The aim of this note is to clearly expose this possibility by way of examples from both population dynamics and infectious disease epidemiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
StatePublished - Sep 7 2016


  • Basic reproduction number
  • Infectious disease dynamics
  • Next-generation matrix
  • Population dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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