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Author's note:

      Modelling infectious disease transmission dynamics is now mainstream. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on COVID 19 reports the results of over 30 such models on a weekly basis. It has not always been like this. At a USDA meeting in Colorado some years ago, I asked a group of government employees if they would take any notice of models in the catastrophic event of a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in the USA: I was met with six silent headshakes. I completely understood. The mathematics involved in modelling is a huge barrier to appreciating how models can be useful, how they can inform control strategies and how they can help us think about stuff.
I spent the first six years of my career as a field biologist. In English schools at the time it was possible to give up math once one reached 16 years of age - and I did. As a result I was perplexed that my modelling colleagues seemed to know more about my hard gotten data than I did. It was infuriating. More infuriating was that many of them had degrees in engineering or physics, not biology. When I tried to learn how to do it for myself, I quickly discovered there was no place to start. The text books all assumed a level of mathematical training that I simply did not have.
This book provides a place to start. I tell my students (veterinarians, medics, public health students) that I can teach them all the mathematics they need to know to write a useful model in forty minutes. I am almost always right. If you are a complete beginner but want a manual (rather than a text book) to teach you how to write useful models may I suggest you read this one.