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Connecting within and between-hosts dynamics in the influenza infection-staged epidemiological models with behavior change.

Abstract

Influenza viruses are a major public health problem worldwide. Although influenza has been extensively researched, there are still many aspects that are not fully understood such as the effects of within and between-hosts dynamics and their impact on behavior change. Here, we develop mathematical models with multiple infection stages and estimate parameters based on within-host data to investigate the impact of behavior change on influenza dynamics. We divide the infected population into three and four groups based on the age of the infection, which corresponds to viral load shedding. We consider within-host data on viral shedding to estimate the length and force of infection of the different infectivity stages. Our results show that behavior changes, due to exogenous events (e.g., media coverage) and disease symptoms, are effective in delaying and lowering an epidemic peak. We show that the dynamics of viral shedding and symptoms, during the infection, are key features when considering epidemic prevention strategies. This study improves our understanding of the spread of influenza virus infection in the population and provides information about the impact of emergent behavior and its connection to the within and between-hosts dynamics.

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