Epidemic Processes in Complex Networks

R. Pastor-Satorras, C. Castellano, P. Van Mieghem, and A. Vespignani
Rev. Mod. Phys.
87, 925, (2015)
August 31, 2015


In recent years the  research community has accumulated overwhelming evidence for the emergence of  complex and heterogeneous connectivity patterns in a wide range of biological  and sociotechnical systems. The complex properties of real-world networks  have a profound impact on the behavior of equilibrium and nonequilibrium  phenomena occurring in various systems, and the study of epidemic spreading  is central to our understanding of the unfolding of dynamical processes in  complex networks. The theoretical analysis of epidemic spreading in  heterogeneous networks requires the development of novel analytical  frameworks, and it has produced results of conceptual and practical  relevance. A coherent and comprehensive review of the vast research activity  concerning epidemic processes is presented, detailing the successful  theoretical approaches as well as making their limits and assumptions clear.  Physicists, mathematicians, epidemiologists, computer, and social scientists  share a common interest in studying epidemic spreading and rely on similar  models for the description of the diffusion of pathogens, knowledge, and  innovation. For this reason, while focusing on the main results and the  paradigmatic models in infectious disease modeling, the major results concerning  generalized social contagion processes are also presented. Finally, the  research activity at the forefront in the study of epidemic spreading in  coevolving, coupled, and time-varying networks is reported.

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