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      Towards a Characterization of Behavior-Disease Models

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          The last decade saw the advent of increasingly realistic epidemic models that leverage on the availability of highly detailed census and human mobility data. Data-driven models aim at a granularity down to the level of households or single individuals. However, relatively little systematic work has been done to provide coupled behavior-disease models able to close the feedback loop between behavioral changes triggered in the population by an individual's perception of the disease spread and the actual disease spread itself. While models lacking this coupling can be extremely successful in mild epidemics, they obviously will be of limited use in situations where social disruption or behavioral alterations are induced in the population by knowledge of the disease. Here we propose a characterization of a set of prototypical mechanisms for self-initiated social distancing induced by local and non-local prevalence-based information available to individuals in the population. We characterize the effects of these mechanisms in the framework of a compartmental scheme that enlarges the basic SIR model by considering separate behavioral classes within the population. The transition of individuals in/out of behavioral classes is coupled with the spreading of the disease and provides a rich phase space with multiple epidemic peaks and tipping points. The class of models presented here can be used in the case of data-driven computational approaches to analyze scenarios of social adaptation and behavioral change.

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          Most cited references 40

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          Modelling disease outbreaks in realistic urban social networks.

          Most mathematical models for the spread of disease use differential equations based on uniform mixing assumptions or ad hoc models for the contact process. Here we explore the use of dynamic bipartite graphs to model the physical contact patterns that result from movements of individuals between specific locations. The graphs are generated by large-scale individual-based urban traffic simulations built on actual census, land-use and population-mobility data. We find that the contact network among people is a strongly connected small-world-like graph with a well-defined scale for the degree distribution. However, the locations graph is scale-free, which allows highly efficient outbreak detection by placing sensors in the hubs of the locations network. Within this large-scale simulation framework, we then analyse the relative merits of several proposed mitigation strategies for smallpox spread. Our results suggest that outbreaks can be contained by a strategy of targeted vaccination combined with early detection without resorting to mass vaccination of a population.
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            Modelling the influence of human behaviour on the spread of infectious diseases: a review.

            Human behaviour plays an important role in the spread of infectious diseases, and understanding the influence of behaviour on the spread of diseases can be key to improving control efforts. While behavioural responses to the spread of a disease have often been reported anecdotally, there has been relatively little systematic investigation into how behavioural changes can affect disease dynamics. Mathematical models for the spread of infectious diseases are an important tool for investigating and quantifying such effects, not least because the spread of a disease among humans is not amenable to direct experimental study. Here, we review recent efforts to incorporate human behaviour into disease models, and propose that such models can be broadly classified according to the type and source of information which individuals are assumed to base their behaviour on, and according to the assumed effects of such behaviour. We highlight recent advances as well as gaps in our understanding of the interplay between infectious disease dynamics and human behaviour, and suggest what kind of data taking efforts would be helpful in filling these gaps.
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              The spread of awareness and its impact on epidemic outbreaks.

              When a disease breaks out in a human population, changes in behavior in response to the outbreak can alter the progression of the infectious agent. In particular, people aware of a disease in their proximity can take measures to reduce their susceptibility. Even if no centralized information is provided about the presence of a disease, such awareness can arise through first-hand observation and word of mouth. To understand the effects this can have on the spread of a disease, we formulate and analyze a mathematical model for the spread of awareness in a host population, and then link this to an epidemiological model by having more informed hosts reduce their susceptibility. We find that, in a well-mixed population, this can result in a lower size of the outbreak, but does not affect the epidemic threshold. If, however, the behavioral response is treated as a local effect arising in the proximity of an outbreak, it can completely stop a disease from spreading, although only if the infection rate is below a threshold. We show that the impact of locally spreading awareness is amplified if the social network of potential infection events and the network over which individuals communicate overlap, especially so if the networks have a high level of clustering. These findings suggest that care needs to be taken both in the interpretation of disease parameters, as well as in the prediction of the fate of future outbreaks.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                3 August 2011
                : 6
                : 8
                [1 ]Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America
                [2 ]Linkalab, Center for the Study of Complex Networks, Cagliari, Sardegna, Italy
                [3 ]Pervasive Technology Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America
                [4 ]Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI), Torino, Italy
                National Institutes of Health, United States of America
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: NP DB BG AV. Performed the experiments: NP. Analyzed the data: NP DB BG AV. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: NP DB BG AV. Wrote the paper: NP DB BG AV.

                Perra et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 15
                Research Article
                Computational Biology
                Population Modeling
                Infectious Disease Modeling
                Nonlinear Dynamics
                Interdisciplinary Physics
                Social and Behavioral Sciences



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