Controlling disease spread on networks with incomplete knowledge

Dybiec, B. and Kleczkowski, A. and Gilligan, C. A. (2004) Controlling disease spread on networks with incomplete knowledge. Physical Review E, 70 (6). 066145. ISSN 2470-0053 (

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Models for control of highly infectious diseases on local, small-world, and scale-free networks are considered, with only partial information accessible about the status of individuals and their connections. We consider a case when individuals can be infectious before showing symptoms and thus before detection. For small to moderately severe incidence of infection with a small number of nonlocal links, it is possible to control disease spread by using purely local methods applied in a neighborhood centered around a detected infectious individual. There exists an optimal radius for such a control neighborhood leading to the lowest severity of the epidemic in terms of economic costs associated with disease and treatment. The efficiency of a local control strategy is very sensitive to the choice of the radius. Below the optimal radius, the local strategy is unsuccessful; the disease spreads throughout the system, necessitating treatment of the whole population. At the other extreme, a strategy involving a neighborhood that is too large controls the disease but is wasteful of resources. It is not possible to stop an epidemic on scale-free networks by preventive actions, unless a large proportion of the population is treated.