Health Care Management Science

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 277–289 | Cite as

The Effect of Social Mixing Controls on the Spread of Smallpox—A Two-Level Model



Responding to a possible bioterror attack of Smallpox has become a major concern to governments, local public officials and health authorities. This concern has been reflected in numerous studies that model and evaluate possible response strategies. Many of these studies consider only vaccination policies and assume homogeneous mixing, where all instances of contacts in the population are equally likely. Such a mixing pattern is rather unlikely to represent population interaction in a modern urban setting, which typically is separated into households on the one hand, and into daily meeting sites such as schools and offices, on the other hand. In this paper we develop a two-level social interaction model where an individual moves back and forth between home and a daily meeting site, possibly passing through a general meeting site such as mass transit system or other crowded areas. Based on the model, we evaluate the effect of social mixing controls, situational awareness of the public health system and mass vaccination on the spread of smallpox. It is shown that mixing controls and alertness of the response system may have a significant impact on the spread of the epidemic. Some policy recommendations are discussed.


smallpox response policies social structure SIR model non-homogeneous mixing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Operations Research Dept.Naval Postgraduate SchoolMonterey

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