Spatial extent of an outbreak in animal epidemics

Eric Dumonteil 1, Satya N. Majumdar 2, Alberto Rosso 2, Andrea Zoia 1

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110 (2013) 4239-4244

Characterizing the spatial extent of epidemics at the outbreak stage is key to controlling the evolution of the disease. At the outbreak, the number of infected individuals is typically small, so that fluctuations around their average are important: then, it is commonly assumed that the susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) mechanism can be described by a stochastic birth-death process of Galton-Watson type. The displacements of the infected individuals can be modelled by resorting to Brownian motion, which is applicable when long-range movements and complex network interactions can be safely neglected, as in case of animal epidemics. In this context, the spatial extent of an epidemic can be assessed by computing the convex hull enclosing the infected individuals at a given time. We derive the exact evolution equations for the mean perimeter and the mean area of the convex hull, and compare them with Monte Carlo simulations.

  • 1 : CEA/Saclay
  • 2 : Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques (LPTMS)
    CNRS : UMR8626 – Université Paris XI - Paris Sud