A Preliminary Study on the Effects of Fear Factors in Disease Propagation

  • Yubo Wang
  • Jie Hu
  • Gaoxi Xiao
  • Limsoon Wong
  • Stefan Ma
  • Tee Hiang Cheng
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 5)


Upon an outbreak of a dangerous infectious disease, people generally tend to reduce their contacts with others in fear of getting infected. Such typical actions apparently help to reduce the outbreak size. Thanks to today’s broad media coverage, the fear factor may also contribute to preventing an outbreak from happening at all. We are motivated to conduct a careful study on modeling and evaluating such effects with a complex network approach. As a first step of this study, we consider the relatively simple case where involved individuals randomly remove a certain fraction of links between them. Analytical and simulation results show that such an action cannot effectively prevent an epidemic outbreak from happening. However, it may significantly reduce the fraction of all the people ever getting infected when an outbreak does happen.


complex networks scale-free networks fear factor epidemic threshold average outbreak size prevalence size 


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Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Science, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yubo Wang
    • 1
  • Jie Hu
    • 1
  • Gaoxi Xiao
    • 1
  • Limsoon Wong
    • 2
  • Stefan Ma
    • 3
  • Tee Hiang Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Electrical and Electronic EngineeringNanyang Technology UniversitySingapore
  2. 2.School of Computing and School of MedicineNational University of SingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Epidemiology & Disease Control DivisionMinistry of HealthSingapore

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