Thursday, July 11, 2013

1307.2404 (Li Chen et al.)

Outbreaks of coinfections: the critical role of cooperativity    [PDF]

Li Chen, Fakhteh Ghanbarnejad, Weiran Cai, Peter Grassberger
Modeling epidemic dynamics plays an important role in studying how diseases spread, predicting their future course, and designing strategies to control them. In this letter, we introduce a model of SIR (susceptible-infected-removed) type which explicitly incorporates the effect of {\it cooperative coinfection}. More precisely, each individual can get infected by two different diseases, and an individual already infected with one disease has an increased probability to get infected by the other. Depending on the amount of this increase, we observe different threshold scenarios. Apart from the standard continuous phase transition for single disease outbreaks, we observe continuous transitions where both diseases must coexist, but also discontinuous transitions are observed, where a finite fraction of the population is already affected by both diseases at the threshold. All our results are obtained in a mean field model using rate equations, but we argue that they should hold also in more general frameworks.
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