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Forecast and control of epidemics in a globalized world

Summary: Forecast and control of epidemics in a
globalized world
L. Hufnagel
, D. Brockmann, and T. Geisel
Max-Planck-Institut fu¨ r Stro¨ mungsforschung, Bunsenstrasse 10, 37073 Go¨ ttingen, Germany; and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of
California , Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Edited by Robert May, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, and approved August 26, 2004 (received for review December 15, 2003)
The rapid worldwide spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome
demonstrated the potential threat an infectious disease poses in a
closely interconnected and interdependent world. Here we intro-
duce a probabilistic model that describes the worldwide spread of
infectious diseases and demonstrate that a forecast of the geo-
graphical spread of epidemics is indeed possible. This model
combines a stochastic local infection dynamics among individuals
with stochastic transport in a worldwide network, taking into
account national and international civil aviation traffic. Our simu-
lations of the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak are in
surprisingly good agreement with published case reports. We
show that the high degree of predictability is caused by the strong
heterogeneity of the network. Our model can be used to predict


Source: Amaral, Luis A.N. - Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University
Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation, Department of Nonlinear Dynamics


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Mathematics; Physics