Estimating enhanced prevaccination measles transmission hotspots in the context of cross-scale dynamics

Alexander D. Becker, Ruthie B. Birger, Aude Teillant, Paul A. Gastanaduy, Gregory S. Wallace, Bryan T. Grenfell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A key question in clarifying human-environment interactions is how dynamic complexity develops across integrative scales from molecular to population and global levels. Apart from its public health importance, measles is an excellent test bed for such an analysis. Simple mechanistic models have successfully illuminated measles dynamics at the city and country levels, revealing seasonal forcing of transmission as a major driver of long-term epidemic behavior. Seasonal forcing ties closely to patterns of school aggregation at the individual and community levels, but there are few explicit estimates of school transmission due to the relative lack of epidemic data at this scale. Here, we use data from a 1904 measles outbreak in schools in Woolwich, London, coupled with a stochastic Susceptible-Infected-Recovered model to analyze measles incidence data. Our results indicate that transmission within schools and age classes is higher than previous population-level serological data would suggest. This analysis sheds quantitative light on the role of school-aged children in measles cross-scale dynamics, as we illustrate with references to the contemporary vaccination landscape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14595-14600
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 20 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Childhood infection
  • Cross-scale dynamics
  • Mathematical model
  • Measles
  • Vaccine refusal


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