A New Epidemic Model
SARS revealed the existence of "super-spreaders," who can infect dozens of people. The same, it appears, goes for other infectious diseases.
When an infectious disease outbreak occurs, public health authorities are keen to determine its R₀ value: the reproductive number of the pathogen, or how many people will become infected from contact with one individual. Yet with SARS and other respiratory diseases, it turns out that the R₀ value tells only part of the story about a disease’s spread.