Disease-induced resource constraints can trigger explosive epidemics

Citation

Bottcher, L.; Woolley-Meza, O.; Araujo, N. A.; Herrmann, H. J.; & Helbing, D. (2015). Disease-induced resource constraints can trigger explosive epidemics. Scientific Reports. vol. 5 pp. 16571

Abstract

Advances in mathematical epidemiology have led to a better understanding of the risks posed by epidemic spreading and informed strategies to contain disease spread. However, a challenge that has been overlooked is that, as a disease becomes more prevalent, it can limit the availability of the capital needed to effectively treat those who have fallen ill. Here we use a simple mathematical model to gain insight into the dynamics of an epidemic when the recovery of sick individuals depends on the availability of healing resources that are generated by the healthy population. We find that epidemics spiral out of control into "explosive" spread if the cost of recovery is above a critical cost. This can occur even when the disease would die out without the resource constraint. The onset of explosive epidemics is very sudden, exhibiting a discontinuous transition under very general assumptions. We find analytical expressions for the critical cost and the size of the explosive jump in infection levels in terms of the parameters that characterize the spreading process. Our model and results apply beyond epidemics to contagion dynamics that self-induce constraints on recovery, thereby amplifying the spreading process.

URL

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26568377

Keyword(s)

diesease

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Scientific Reports

Author(s)

Bottcher, L.
Woolley-Meza, O.
Araujo, N. A.
Herrmann, H. J.
Helbing, D.

Year Published

2015

Volume Number

5

Pages

16571

Edition

11/17

ISSN/ISBN

2045-2322

DOI

10.1038/srep16571

Reference ID

7728