critical population size

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The minimum number of people required to sustain indefinitely an infectious pathogen, i.e., large enough to ensure that there is a specified probability of infectious agents encountering susceptible hosts. The specified probability varies with the nature of the infectious agent, its route of transmission, environmental conditions, and other factors that can all be observed, measured, counted, and included in the complex stochastic processes that are part of the mathematical theory of epidemics.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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