Epidemic enhancement in partially immune populations.


We observe that a pathogen introduced into a population containing individuals with acquired immunity can result in an epidemic longer in duration and/or larger in size than if the pathogen were introduced into a naive population. We call this phenomenon "epidemic enhancement," and use simple dynamical models to show that it is a realistic scenario within the parameter ranges of many common infectious diseases. This finding implies that repeated pathogen introduction or intermediate levels of vaccine coverage can lead to pathogen persistence in populations where extinction would otherwise be expected.

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