Control of epidemics on complex networks: Effectiveness of delayed isolation.

Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics

PubMedID: 26382469

Pereira T, Young LS. Control of epidemics on complex networks: Effectiveness of delayed isolation. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2015;92(2-1):022822.
We study isolation as a means to control epidemic outbreaks in complex networks, focusing on the consequences of delays in isolating infected nodes. Our analysis uncovers a tipping point: if infected nodes are isolated before a critical day d_{c}, the disease is effectively controlled, whereas for longer delays the number of infected nodes climbs steeply. We show that d_{c} can be estimated explicitly in terms of network properties and disease parameters, connecting lowered values of d_{c} explicitly to heterogeneity in degree distribution. Our results reveal also that initial delays in the implementation of isolation protocols can have catastrophic consequences in heterogeneous networks. As our study is carried out in a general framework, it has the potential to offer insight and suggest proactive strategies for containing outbreaks of a range of serious infectious diseases.