University of Virginia
We study the feedback processes between individual behavior, disease prevalence, interventions and social networks during an influenza pandemic when a limited stockpile of antivirals is shared between the private and the public sectors. An economic model that uses prevalence-elastic demand for interventions is combined with a detailed social network and a disease propagation model to understand the feedback mechanism between epidemic dynamics, market behavior, individual perceptions, and the social network. An urban and a rural region are simulated to assess the robustness of results. Results show that an optimal split between the private and public sectors can be reached to contain the disease but the accessibility of antivirals from the private sector is skewed towards the richest income quartile. Also, larger allocations to the private sector result in wastage where individuals who do not need it are able to purchase it but who need it cannot afford it. Disease prevalence increases with household size and total contact time but not by degree in the social network, whereas wastage of antivirals decreases with degree and contact time. The best utilization of drugs is achieved when individuals with high contact time use them, who tend to be the school-aged children of large families.