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J Theor Biol. 2010 May 21;264(2):501-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2010.02.032. Epub 2010 Feb 23.

Endemic disease, awareness, and local behavioural response.

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School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK.


The spread of a contagious disease is often accompanied by a rise in awareness of those in the social vicinity of infected individuals, and a subsequent change in behaviour. Such reactions can manifest themselves in lower susceptibility as people try to prevent themselves from catching the disease, but also in lower infectivity because of self-imposed quarantine or better hygiene, shorter durations of infectiousness or longer immunity. We here focus on the scenario of an endemic disease of which members of the population can be either aware or unaware, and consider a broad set of possible reactions. We quantify the impact on the endemicity of a disease in a well-mixed population under the variation of different disease parameters as a consequence of growing awareness in the population. Applying a pair-closure scheme allows us to analyse the effect of local correlations if aware individuals tend to occur near infected cases, and to link this to the amount of overlap between the networks underlying the spread of awareness and disease, respectively. Lastly, we study the consequences on the dynamics when the pathogen and awareness spread at different velocities.

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