Journal Article

“Herd Immunity”: A Rough Guide

Paul Fine, Ken Eames and David L. Heymann

Edited by Stanley Plotkin

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 52, issue 7, pages 911-916
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2011 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cir007
“Herd Immunity”: A Rough Guide

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The term “herd immunity” is widely used but carries a variety of meanings [1–7]. Some authors use it to describe the proportion immune among individuals in a population. Others use it with reference to a particular threshold proportion of immune individuals that should lead to a decline in incidence of infection. Still others use it to refer to a pattern of immunity that should protect a population from invasion of a new infection. A common implication of the term is that the risk of infection among susceptible individuals in a population is reduced by the presence and proximity of immune individuals (this is sometimes referred to as “indirect protection” or a “herd effect”). We provide brief historical, epidemiologic, theoretical, and pragmatic public health perspectives on this concept.

Journal Article.  3619 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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