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, 101 (48), 16915-6

Dynamical Resonance Can Account for Seasonality of Influenza Epidemics


Dynamical Resonance Can Account for Seasonality of Influenza Epidemics

Jonathan Dushoff et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.


Influenza incidence exhibits strong seasonal fluctuations in temperate regions throughout the world, concentrating the mortality and morbidity burden of the disease into a few months each year. The cause of influenza's seasonality has remained elusive. Here we show that the large oscillations in incidence may be caused by undetectably small seasonal changes in the influenza transmission rate that are amplified by dynamical resonance.


Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
The effect of seasonal forcing on oscillations in influenza incidence. We simulate disease dynamics in a population of 500,000 people both with (blue) and without (red) demographic stochasticity. formula image varies sinusoidally between 9.6 and 10.4. The black curve shows the (nearly invisible) oscillations in incidence that these variations in formula image would cause if disease dynamics responded instantaneously to changes in transmission, without resonance or transient fluctuations. (a) Weak resonance. The intrinsic oscillatory period is T ≈ 0.59 years (duration of infectiousness 0.02 yr, duration of immunity 4 yr). (b) Strong resonance. T ≈ 0.94 yr (duration of infectiousness 0.025 yr, duration of immunity 8 yr). When parameters are drawn at random from the ranges given for formula image, D, and L in the text, we find strong oscillations due to resonance (winter peak/summer trough >5) for 21% of parameter sets (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.
Magnitude of observed oscillations (ratio of peak-to-trough incidence) in the stochastic forced SIRS epidemic model plotted against the approximated period of endogenous oscillations in the SIRS model formula image, for 2,000 sets of parameters randomly chosen from the ranges given in the text (shown are the 1,560 trials where the disease persisted for at least 20 years after being started from the deterministic equilibrium). Underlying variation in transmission rate is ± 4% (i.e., β1 = 0.04 in Eq. 3). Strong resonance occurs when the approximate endogenous period is near 1 year.

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