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Journal Articles Royal Society Open Science Year : 2017

Human Mobility Networks and Persistence of Rapidly Mutating Pathogens


Rapidly mutating pathogens may be able to persist in the population and reach an endemic equilibrium by escaping hosts' acquired immunity. For such diseases, multiple biological, environmental and population-level mechanisms determine the dynamics of the outbreak, including pathogen's epidemiological traits (e.g. transmissibility, infectious period and duration of immunity), seasonality, interaction with other circulating strains and hosts' mixing and spatial fragmentation. Here, we study a susceptible-infected-recovered-susceptible model on a metapopulation where individuals are distributed in sub-populations connected via a network of mobility flows. Through extensive numerical simulations, we explore the phase space of pathogen's persistence and map the dynamical regimes of the pathogen following emergence. Our results show that spatial fragmentation and mobility play a key role in the persistence of the disease whose maximum is reached at intermediate mobility values. We describe the occurrence of different phenomena including local extinction and emergence of epidemic waves, and assess the conditions for large-scale spreading. Findings are highlighted in reference to previous studies and to real scenarios. Our work uncovers the crucial role of hosts' mobility on the ecological dynamics of rapidly mutating pathogens, opening the path for further studies on disease ecology in the presence of a complex and heterogeneous environment.

Dates and versions

hal-03888680 , version 1 (07-12-2022)



Alberto Aleta, Andreia N. S. Hisi, Sandro Meloni, Chiara Poletto, Vittoria Colizza, et al.. Human Mobility Networks and Persistence of Rapidly Mutating Pathogens. Royal Society Open Science, 2017, 4 (3), pp.160914. ⟨10.1098/rsos.160914⟩. ⟨hal-03888680⟩
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