Hong Kong Med J 2010;16(Suppl 4):S43-4
Complex network models of disease propagation: modelling, predicting and assessing the transmission of SARS
M Small, CK Tse
Department of Electronic and Information Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
1. Complex network models improve descriptions of disease transmission, and reveal the relationship and contacts between all individuals within a community.
2. These models might have been able to predict the extent of the SARS outbreak. For realistic parameter values (estimated from community demographics), the outbreak was substantial only if transmission within hospitals was not controlled.
3. Super-spreading events can occur as a consequence of human connectivity, and are not necessarily a result of highly infectious individuals.
4. Avian influenza can be described by the scale-free network, which exhibits occasional extremely high connectivity between outbreak sites. This means that merely reducing infectivity cannot effectively control avian influenza. Control can only be achieved by removing places where large numbers of poultry congregate.