The Infection Tree of Global Epidemics

A. Pastore y Piontti, M. Ferreira Da Costa Gomes, N. Samay, N. Perra, A. Vespignani


The spreading of  transmissible infectious diseases is inevitably entangled with the dynamics  of human population. Humans are the carrier of the pathogen, and the  large-scale travel and commuting patterns that govern the mobility of modern  societies are defining how epidemics and pandemics travel across the world.  For a long time, the development of quantitative spatially explicit models  able to shed light on the global dynamics of pandemic has been limited by the  lack of detailed data on human mobility. In the last 10 years, however, these  limits have been lifted by the increasing availability of data generated by  new information technologies, thus triggering the development of  computational (microsimulation) models working at a level of single individuals  in spatially extended regions of the world. Microsimulations can provide  information at very detailed spatial resolutions and down to the level of  single individuals. In addition, computational implementations explicitly  account for stochasticity, allowing the study of multiple realizations of  epidemics with the same parameters' distribution. While on the one hand these  capabilities represent the richness of microsimulation methods, on the other  hand they face us with a huge amount of information that requires the use of  specific data reduction methods and visual analytics.

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