Biomathematics Seminar: The spatial and temporal spread of infectious pathogens
9 December 2014 14:00 in Department of Mathematical Sciences
The SARS epidemic of 2003, pandemic H1N1 influenza in 2009 and the current Ebola epidemic in western Africa exemplify the ability of infectious pathogens to quickly spread in space. While epidemics have always been mobile, the acceleration and globalization of travel over the last decades have magnified the issue. I will start this talk with a discussion of human mobility. I will focus in particular on the global air transportation network. I will then introduce one of the paradigms that can be used to model the spatial and temporal spread of infectious pathogens, so-called metapopulation models. These systems consider a discrete partition of space into units connected in a digraph representing movement of individuals between locations; each location is then equipped with a dynamical system, typically differential equations or Markov chains, to describe the spread of the infectious disease within the population in the unit. I will discuss some mathematical properties of these system. Finally, I will show an application of metapopulations in the context of the BioDiaspora Project, a Toronto based initiative that assesses disease importation risks to various public health entities.
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