Dynamics of interacting diseases

Sanz, Joaquin; Xia, Cheng-Yi; Meloni, Sandro; Moreno, Yamir
Current modeling of infectious diseases allows for the study of complex and realistic scenarios that go from the population to the individual level of description. However, most epidemic models assume that the spreading process takes place on a single level (be it a single population, a meta-population system or a network of contacts). In particular, interdependent contagion phenomena can only be addressed if we go beyond the scheme one pathogen-one network. In this paper, we propose a framework that allows describing the spreading dynamics of two concurrent diseases. Specifically, we characterize analytically the epidemic thresholds of the two diseases for different scenarios and also compute the temporal evolution characterizing the unfolding dynamics. Results show that there are regions of the parameter space in which the onset of a disease's outbreak is conditioned to the prevalence levels of the other disease. Moreover, we show, for the SIS scheme, that under certain circumstances, finite and not vanishing epidemic thresholds are found even at the thermodynamic limit for scale-free networks. For the SIR scenario, the phenomenology is richer and additional interdependencies show up. We also find that the secondary thresholds for the SIS and SIR models are different, which results directly from the interaction between both diseases. Our work thus solve an important problem and pave the way towards a more comprehensive description of the dynamics of interacting diseases.
Research areas:
Type of Publication:
complex systems; interdisciplinary physics
Physical Review X
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