Nine challenges in incorporating the dynamics of behaviour in infectious diseases models

Epidemics. 2015 Mar;10:21-5. doi: 10.1016/j.epidem.2014.09.005. Epub 2014 Sep 28.


Traditionally, the spread of infectious diseases in human populations has been modelled with static parameters. These parameters, however, can change when individuals change their behaviour. If these changes are themselves influenced by the disease dynamics, there is scope for mechanistic models of behaviour to improve our understanding of this interaction. Here, we present challenges in modelling changes in behaviour relating to disease dynamics, specifically: how to incorporate behavioural changes in models of infectious disease dynamics, how to inform measurement of relevant behaviour to parameterise such models, and how to determine the impact of behavioural changes on observed disease dynamics.

Keywords: Behaviour; Infectious disease dynamics; Model; Movement and travel; Real-time data collection; Reporting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Disease Control / methods
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases / psychology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Population Dynamics
  • Population Surveillance
  • Travel / statistics & numerical data