EPJ B Highlight - How to stop diseases and forest fires from spreading

When the population approaches a certain level of heterogeneity, the infection slows.

A new model, published in EPJ B and exploring how epidemics spread, could help prevent infections and forest fires from getting out of hand

Recently, epidemics like measles have been spreading due to the lack of vaccinations, and forest fires have become increasingly frequent due to climate change. Understanding how both these things spread, and how to stop them, is more important than ever. Now, two researchers from the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Bariloche, Argentina, have studied the way epidemics spread in heterogeneous populations. Their findings were recently published in European Physical Journal B.

“The propagation of fronts in heterogeneous media is essential to understanding the spatial spreading not only of epidemics, but also of forest fires, chemical reactions and similar dynamical systems in realistic “not smooth” substrates,” says Dr Karina Laneri, co-author of the paper.

Understanding how to control, diminish or stop the effect of the “infective wave” is of great importance, Laneri says. Previous research largely focused on homogeneous or particular heterogeneous cases, relevant to specific landscapes or populations, for example. In the new paper, published in EPJ B, the researchers investigated a generic form of heterogeneity. “Our conclusions are thus universal, in the sense that they can statistically describe a large family of systems,” explains co-author Alejandro Kolton.

The team combined the mathematical properties of homogeneous systems with numerical simulations to study the way epidemics can spread. One of their conclusions was that, when the population approaches a certain level of heterogeneity, the infection wave broadens and spreads less rapidly, and stops once that level has been reached. “Our work opens interesting perspectives for future studies,” Laneri says. For example, the researchers hope their efforts will pave the way to understanding how to control infections by deciding which populations to vaccinate.

A. B. Kolton and K. Laneri (2019), Rough infection fronts in a random medium, European Physical Journal B 92:126, DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2019-90582-3

This was our first experience of publishing with EPJ Web of Conferences. We contacted the publisher in the middle of September, just one month prior to the Conference, but everything went through smoothly. We have had published MNPS Proceedings with different publishers in the past, and would like to tell that the EPJ Web of Conferences team was probably the best, very quick, helpful and interactive. Typically, we were getting responses from EPJ Web of Conferences team within less than an hour and have had help at every production stage.
We are very thankful to Solange Guenot, Web of Conferences Publishing Editor, and Isabelle Houlbert, Web of Conferences Production Editor, for their support. These ladies are top-level professionals, who made a great contribution to the success of this issue. We are fully satisfied with the publication of the Conference Proceedings and are looking forward to further cooperation. The publication was very fast, easy and of high quality. My colleagues and I strongly recommend EPJ Web of Conferences to anyone, who is interested in quick high-quality publication of conference proceedings.

On behalf of the Organizing and Program Committees and Editorial Team of MNPS-2019, Dr. Alexey B. Nadykto, Moscow State Technological University “STANKIN”, Moscow, Russia. EPJ Web of Conferences vol. 224 (2019)

ISSN: 2100-014X (Electronic Edition)

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