Disease dynamics in a dynamic social network

Claire Christensen, István Albert, Bryan Grenfell, Réka Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We develop a framework for simulating a realistic, evolving social network (a city) into which a disease is introduced. We compare our results to prevaccine era measles data for England and Wales, and find that they capture the quantitative and qualitative features of epidemics in populations spanning two orders of magnitude. Our results provide unique insight into how and why the social topology of the contact network influences the propagation of the disease through the population. We argue that network simulation is suitable for concurrently probing contact network dynamics and disease dynamics in ways that prior modeling approaches cannot and it can be extended to the study of less well-documented diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2663-2674
Number of pages12
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


  • Contact network
  • Disease dynamics
  • Disease spreading
  • Measles
  • Network dynamics
  • Social network


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