Efficient simulation of the spatial transmission dynamics of influenza

Meng-Tsung Tsai, Tsurng Chen Chern, Jen Hsiang Chuang, Chih Wen Hsueh, Hsu Sung Kuo, Churn Jung Liau, Steven Riley, Bing Jie Shen, Chih Hao Shen, Da Wei Wang, Tsan Sheng Hsu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Early data from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic (H1N1pdm) suggest that previous studies over-estimated the within-country rate of spatial spread of pandemic influenza. As large spatially resolved data sets are constructed, the need for efficient simulation code with which to investigate the spatial patterns of the pandemic becomes clear. Here, we present a significant improvement to the efficiency of an individual based stochastic disease simulation framework commonly used in multiple previous studies. We quantify the efficiency of the revised algorithm and present an alternative parameterization of the model in terms of the basic reproductive number. We apply the model to the population of Taiwan and demonstrate how the location of the initial seed can influence spatial incidence profiles and the overall spread of the epidemic. Differences in incidence are driven by the relative connectivity of alternate seed locations. The ability to perform efficient simulation allows us to run a batch of simulations and take account of their average in real time. The averaged data are stable and can be used to differentiate spreading patterns that are not readily seen by only conducting a few runs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13292
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - 18 Nov 2010

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