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Highly dynamic animal contact network and implications on disease transmission.

Abstract

Contact patterns among hosts are considered as one of the most critical factors contributing to unequal pathogen transmission. Consequently, networks have been widely applied in infectious disease modeling. However most studies assume static network structure due to lack of accurate observation and appropriate analytic tools. In this study we used high temporal and spatial resolution animal position data to construct a high-resolution contact network relevant to infectious disease transmission. The animal contact network aggregated at hourly level was highly variable and dynamic within and between days, for both network structure (network degree distribution) and individual rank of degree distribution in the network (degree order). We integrated network degree distribution and degree order heterogeneities with a commonly used contact-based, directly transmitted disease model to quantify the effect of these two sources of heterogeneity on the infectious disease dynamics. Four conditions were simulated based on the combination of these two heterogeneities. Simulation results indicated that disease dynamics and individual contribution to new infections varied substantially among these four conditions under both parameter settings. Changes in the contact network had a greater effect on disease dynamics for pathogens with smaller basic reproduction number (i.e. R0 < 2).

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Shi Chen

Assistant Professor
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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