infectious disease, travel and social networks

Biden advises us not to travel — “[the problem is that] you’re in a confined aircraft, when one person sneezes it goes all the way through the aircraft.”

Here’s Virginia Tech’s Stephen Eubank giving a short primer on modern transportation and the spread of infectious disease.  And, here’s a nice 2004 social networks piece in Nature by Eubank et al (pdf): “Modeling Disease Outbreak in Realistic Urban Social Networks.”

Finally, here’s a helpful 1945 British public service announcement on how to sneeze properly in public.

*Update: Bob Sutton links to a helpful swine flu portal, aggregator of all things H1N1.


Written by teppo

May 1, 2009 at 6:40 am

Posted in networks

4 Responses

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  1. a close parallel to this in the social science diffusion literature is Hedstrom, Sandell, and Stern AJS 2000. in this paper they looked at the diffusion of the Swedish labor party which mostly spread from adjacent counties but also spread via the travels of labor organizers. at an abstract level you can think of this as a lattice plus a few random graph elements. similarly most of the time diseases will spread within cities and then to neighboring cities, but air travel will let it jump to non-contiguous cities.



    May 1, 2009 at 11:56 am

  2. Teppo – where do you find these awesome videos? That’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. The poor sneezer had tears running down his face.



    May 1, 2009 at 2:40 pm

  3. Gabriel — yes, thanks for the link. (Hmm, I’m not looking forward to the upcoming, daughters-in-tow, cross-Atlantic flight if the numbers start escalating — though for now confirmed deaths are at a super-super-super-low 13 [why are we even panicking?], worldwide.)

    Brayden — I figured youtube would have something on “sneezing” and that one was one of the first to pop up.



    May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm

  4. […] of digital information even resembles its real-life counterpart under rigorous scientific scrutiny [10].  However, unlike the real world where it takes eight hours to get a germ infected body from […]


    HP Community

    May 28, 2009 at 9:03 pm

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