Dangerous connections: on binding site models of infectious disease dynamics

Research paper by Ka Yin Leung, Odo Diekmann

Indexed on: 26 Jan '16Published on: 26 Jan '16Published in: Quantitative Biology - Populations and Evolution


We formulate models for the spread of infection on networks that are amenable to analysis in the large population limit. We distinguish three different levels: (1) binding sites, (2) individuals, and (3) the population. In the tradition of Physiologically Structured Population Models, the formulation starts on the individual level. Influences from the `outside world' on an individual are captured by environmental variables. These environmental variables are population level quantities. A key characteristic of the network models is that individuals can be decomposed into a number of conditionally independent components: each individual has a fixed number of `binding sites' for partners. The Markov chain dynamics of binding sites are described by only a few equations. In particular, individual-level probabilities are obtained from binding-site-level probabilities by combinatorics while population-level quantities are obtained by averaging over individuals in the population. Thus we are able to characterize population-level epidemiological quantities, such as $R_0$, $r$, the final size, and the endemic equilibrium, in terms of the corresponding variables.