Susceptible-infected-recovered epidemics in populations with heterogeneous contact rates
University of Texas-Austin, Section of Integrative Biology, Austin, TX, 78751, USA
Corresponding author: a firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised: 18 February 2008
Published online: 2 April 2008
Heterogeneity of contact patterns is recognized as an important feature for realistic modeling of many epidemics. During an outbreak, the frequency of contacts can vary a great deal from person to person and period to period. Contact heterogeneity has been shown to have a large impact on epidemic thresholds and the final size of epidemics. We develop and apply a model which incorporates an arbitrary distribution of contact rates. The model consists of a low-dimensional system of ordinary differential equations which incorporates arbitrary heterogeneity by making use of generating functions of the contact rate distribution. We show further how this model can be applied to the study of simple intervention strategies, such as quarantine of public venues with probability proportional to size. The dynamic model allows us to investigate the effects of gradually implementing such strategies in response to an ongoing epidemic, and we investigate these strategies using data on the contact patterns within a large US city.
PACS: 87.23.Cc – Population dynamics and ecological pattern formation
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2008