Travelling waves and spatial hierarchies in measles epidemics

B. T. Grenfell, Ottar N. Bjornstad, J. Kappey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

582 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Spatio-temporal travelling waves are striking manifestations of predator-prey and host-parasite dynamics. However, few systems are well enough documented both to detect repeated waves and to explain their interaction with spatio-temporal variations in population structure and demography. Here, we demonstrate recurrent epidemic travelling waves in an exhaustive spatio-temporal data set for measles in England and Wales. We use wavelet phase analysis, which allows for dynamical non-stationarity - a complication in interpreting spatio-temporal patterns in these and many other ecological time series. In the prevaccination era, conspicuous hierarchical waves of infection moved regionally from large cities to small towns; the introduction of measles vaccination restricted but did not eliminate this hierarchical contagion. A mechanistic stochastic model suggests a dynamical explanation for the waves - spread via infective 'sparks' from large 'core' cities to smaller 'satellite' towns. Thus, the spatial hierarchy of host population structure is a prerequisite for these infection waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-723
Number of pages8
JournalNature
Volume414
Issue number6865
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 13 2001

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Measles
Wavelet Analysis
Wales
Infection
England
Population
Parasites
Vaccination
Demography

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

Grenfell, B. T. ; Bjornstad, Ottar N. ; Kappey, J. / Travelling waves and spatial hierarchies in measles epidemics. In: Nature. 2001 ; Vol. 414, No. 6865. pp. 716-723.
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Travelling waves and spatial hierarchies in measles epidemics. / Grenfell, B. T.; Bjornstad, Ottar N.; Kappey, J.

In: Nature, Vol. 414, No. 6865, 13.12.2001, p. 716-723.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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