Information-related changes in contact patterns may trigger oscillations in the endemic prevalence of infectious diseases

J Theor Biol. 2009 Feb 7;256(3):473-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2008.10.005. Epub 2008 Oct 17.


It is well known that behavioral changes in contact patterns may significantly affect the spread of an epidemic outbreak. Here we focus on simple endemic models for recurrent epidemics, by modelling the social contact rate as a function of the available information on the present and the past disease prevalence. We show that social behavior change alone may trigger sustained oscillations. This indicates that human behavior might be a critical explaining factor of oscillations in time-series of endemic diseases. Finally, we briefly show how the inclusion of seasonal variations in contacts may imply chaos.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / psychology
  • Communicable Diseases / transmission
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Prevalence
  • Seasons
  • Social Behavior*