Can social interactions affect spread of disease? Mathematical modeling explains the connection
… "Most of the existing literature assumes that epidemics spread either much faster or much slower than individuals build social connections," Maurizio Porfiri, professor at New York University [Tandon School of Engineering]'s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Department of Biomedical Engineering, says. "However, this is seldom true, as people can travel any distance in a few hours, effectively spreading many pathogens." In a paper publishing next week in the SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems, Porfiri -- along with collaborators Lorenzo Zino and Alessandro Rizzo, both of Politecnico di Torino, Italy, and with visiting appointments at NYU -- draws connections between people's social activity and the spread of epidemics through a mathematical model.