Toward a Realistic Modeling of Epidemic Spreading with Activity Driven Networks

Part of the Theoretical Biology book series (THBIO)


Models of epidemic spreading are widely used to predict the evolution of an outbreak, test specific intervention scenarios, and steer interventions in the field. Compartmental models are the most common class of models. They are very effective for qualitative analysis, but they rely on simplifying assumptions, such as homogeneous mixing and time scale separation. On the other end of the spectrum, detailed agent-based models, based on realistic mobility pattern models, provide extremely accurate predictions. However, these models require significant computing power and are not suitable for analytical treatment. Our research aims at bridging the gap between these two approaches, toward time-varying network models that are sufficiently accurate to make predictions for real-world applications, while being computationally affordable and amenable to analytical treatment. We leverage the novel paradigm of activity driven networks (ADNs), a particular type of time-varying network that accounts for inherent inhomogeinities within a population. Starting from the basic incarnation of ADNs, we expand on the framework to include behavioral factors triggered by health status and spreading awareness. The enriched paradigm is then utilized to model the 2014–2015 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) spreading in Liberia, and perform a what-if analysis on the timely application of sanitary interventions in the field. Finally, we propose a new formulation, which is amenable to analytical treatment, beyond the mere computation of the epidemic threshold.



The authors warmly acknowledge the contribution of Mattia Frasca, Biagio Pedalino, and Lorenzo Zino in the development of the research efforts that this book chapter reflects.

This work was supported by National Science Foundation under grant No. CMMI-1561134, the Army Research Office under grant No. W911NF-15-1-0267, with Drs. A. Garcia and S.C. Stanton as program managers, and by Compagnia di San Paolo.

This chapter contains figures and excerpts from [35, 36, 37]. We acknowledge and thank Elsevier [36] and the American Physical Society [35, 37] for granting the permission to reuse the relevant material.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Elettronica e TelecomunicazioniPolitecnico di TorinoTorinoItaly
  2. 2.Office of InnovationNew York University Tandon School of EngineeringBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringNew York University Tandon School of EngineeringBrooklynUSA

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