Insights from unifying modern approximations to infections on networks

Thomas House, Matt J. Keeling

Abstract

Networks are increasingly central to modern science owing to their ability to conceptualize multiple interacting components of a complex system. As a specific example of this, understanding the implications of contact network structure for the transmission of infectious diseases remains a key issue in epidemiology. Three broad approaches to this problem exist: explicit simulation; derivation of exact results for special networks; and dynamical approximations. This paper focuses on the last of these approaches, and makes two main contributions. Firstly, formal mathematical links are demonstrated between several prima facie unrelated dynamical approximations. And secondly, these links are used to derive two novel dynamical models for network epidemiology, which are compared against explicit stochastic simulation. The success of these new models provides improved understanding about the interaction of network structure and transmission dynamics.

  • Received March 24, 2010.
  • Accepted May 20, 2010.

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 work is properly cited.

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