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Mathematics of infectious diseases, fall 2013

This course is an introduction to mathematical modelling of the dynamics of infectious diseases in human and other populations. The course will be given as a book-reading course based on the recent textbook of Diekmann, Heesterbeek and Britton (see Bibliography). Lectures and exercise classes are combined; at each lecture, students will present and discuss sections of the book, resolve any difficulties, and solve exercises given in the book. Some additional material will consider the evolution of pathogens.


Eva Kisdi


10 sp.


Advanced studies


Some familiarity with ordinary differential equations and elementary probability theory. Other mathematical tools will be developed in class as needed.

Lectures & exercises

Weeks 36-42 and 44-50, Monday 10-12 and Friday 10-12 in room B322. First lecture: Friday 6 September, 10.15.

The lectures of Friday 20 September, Friday 22 November and Friday 13 December are cancelled

The timetable of presentations and exercises is given in the syllabus, the presentations already assigned are listed here.


Written exam with problems similar to the exercises of the textbook. The final grade is a combination of the exam grade (with weight 2/3) and course activity (presentations, exercises; with weight 1/3). You may use 1 A4 paper of your own notes (quick reminders, important equations, anything you select to bring with you but no more that 1 sheet of paper)

Exam times:

20 December (Friday) 10.15 - 13.00 in C129
17 January (Friday) 9.15 - 12.00 in C129 (note the early start!)

Content of the exam: As laid out in the syllabus, except work packages [12-13] (Sellke construction), [27] (invasion under periodic environmental conditions), [28] (targeted control), and [31] (intrinsic growth rate in heterogeneous host populations).


O. Diekmann, H. Heesterbeek and T. Britton: Mathematical Tools for Understanding Infectious Disease Dynamics. Princeton University Press, 2012;  0691155399.

In order to participate in this course, you need to have the textbook or have regular access to it. The Kumpula library has three copies for loan in the course book collection, and one extra copy that always remains in the library for use. The book is also available as an ebook through the library of the University of Helsinki (to log in via Shibboleth, click the login choice, choose Helsingin yliopisto from the pull-down list, give your University username and password, and don't forget to accept a checkbox on the login page; when logged in, clicking on the ebook link on this course page will take you to the book directly). Please honour the copyright and the terms of use of ebooks.


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