Disease invasion on community networks with environmental pathogen movement

J Math Biol. 2015 Apr;70(5):1065-92. doi: 10.1007/s00285-014-0791-x. Epub 2014 May 5.


The ability of disease to invade a community network that is connected by environmental pathogen movement is examined. Each community is modeled by a susceptible-infectious-recovered (SIR) framework that includes an environmental pathogen reservoir, and the communities are connected by pathogen movement on a strongly connected, weighted, directed graph. Disease invasibility is determined by the basic reproduction number R(0) for the domain. The domain R(0) is computed through a Laurent series expansion, with perturbation parameter corresponding to the ratio of the pathogen decay rate to the rate of water movement. When movement is fast relative to decay, R(0) is determined by the product of two weighted averages of the community characteristics. The weights in these averages correspond to the network structure through the rooted spanning trees of the weighted, directed graph. Clustering of disease "hot spots" influences disease invasibility. In particular, clustering hot spots together according to a generalization of the group inverse of the Laplacian matrix facilitates disease invasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Basic Reproduction Number
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Markov Chains
  • Mathematical Concepts
  • Models, Biological*
  • Water Microbiology