Simple Rules with Complex Dynamics

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Science  28 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5453, pp. 601-602
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5453.601

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The incidence of infectious diseases such as measles shows patterns that oscillate between regular (occurring at a set time and location) and irregular cycles. In a Perspective, May discusses a report ( Earn et al.) that provides a simple mathematical model to explain the transitions between regular and irregular cycles of measles outbreaks in the United States and the United Kingdom.