A Minimal Model for Multiple Epidemics and Immunity Spreading


Pathogens and parasites are ubiquitous in the living world, being limited only by availability of suitable hosts. The ability to transmit a particular disease depends on competing infections as well as on the status of host immunity. Multiple diseases compete for the same resource and their fate is coupled to each other. Such couplings have many facets, for example cross-immunization between related influenza strains, mutual inhibition by killing the host, or possible even a mutual catalytic effect if host immunity is impaired. We here introduce a minimal model for an unlimited number of unrelated pathogens whose interaction is simplified to simple mutual exclusion. The model incorporates an ongoing development of host immunity to past diseases, while leaving the system open for emergence of new diseases. The model exhibits a rich dynamical behavior with interacting infection waves, leaving broad trails of immunization in the host population. This obtained immunization pattern depends only on the system size and on the mutation rate that initiates new diseases.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013326

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@inproceedings{Sneppen2010AMM, title={A Minimal Model for Multiple Epidemics and Immunity Spreading}, author={Kim Sneppen and Ala Trusina and Mogens H. Jensen and Stefan Bornholdt}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2010} }