A model of spatial epidemic spread when individuals move within overlapping home ranges

Timothy C. Reluga, Jan Medlock, Alison P. Galvani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


One of the central goals of mathematical epidemiology is to predict disease transmission patterns in populations. Two models are commonly used to predict spatial spread of a disease. The first is the distributed-contacts model, often described by a contact distribution among stationary individuals. The second is the distributed-infectives model, often described by the diffusion of infected individuals. However, neither approach is ideal when individuals move within home ranges. This paper presents a unified modeling hypothesis, called the restricted-movement model. We use this model to predict spatial spread in settings where infected individuals move within overlapping home ranges. Using mathematical and computational approaches, we show that our restricted-movement model has three limits: the distributed-contacts model, the distributed- infectives model, and a third, less studied advective distributed-infectives limit. We also calculate approximate upper bounds for the rates of an epidemic's spatial spread. Guidelines are suggested for determining which limit is most appropriate for a specific disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-416
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • General Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Pharmacology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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