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Persistent Chaos of Measles Epidemics in the Prevaccination United States Caused by a Small Change in Seasonal Transmission Patterns

Dalziel, BD and Bjørnstad, ON and van Panhuis, WG and Burke, DS and Metcalf, CJE and Grenfell, BT (2016) Persistent Chaos of Measles Epidemics in the Prevaccination United States Caused by a Small Change in Seasonal Transmission Patterns. PLoS Computational Biology, 12 (2). ISSN 1553-734X

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Abstract

© 2016 Dalziel et al. Epidemics of infectious diseases often occur in predictable limit cycles. Theory suggests these cycles can be disrupted by high amplitude seasonal fluctuations in transmission rates, resulting in deterministic chaos. However, persistent deterministic chaos has never been observed, in part because sufficiently large oscillations in transmission rates are uncommon. Where they do occur, the resulting deep epidemic troughs break the chain of transmission, leading to epidemic extinction, even in large cities. Here we demonstrate a new path to locally persistent chaotic epidemics via subtle shifts in seasonal patterns of transmission, rather than through high-amplitude fluctuations in transmission rates. We base our analysis on a comparison of measles incidence in 80 major cities in the prevaccination era United States and United Kingdom. Unlike the regular limit cycles seen in the UK, measles cycles in US cities consistently exhibit spontaneous shifts in epidemic periodicity resulting in chaotic patterns. We show that these patterns were driven by small systematic differences between countries in the duration of the summer period of low transmission. This example demonstrates empirically that small perturbations in disease transmission patterns can fundamentally alter the regularity and spatiotemporal coherence of epidemics.


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Details

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dalziel, BD
Bjørnstad, ON
van Panhuis, WG
Burke, DSdonburke@pitt.eduDONBURKE
Metcalf, CJE
Grenfell, BT
Contributors:
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
EditorFerguson, Neil M.UNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 1 February 2016
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS Computational Biology
Volume: 12
Number: 2
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004655
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1553-734X
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2016 13:45
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:57
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/28506

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