Discrete-time Markov chain approach to contact-based disease spreading in complex networks

S. Gómez, A. Arenas, J. Borge-Holthoefer, S. Meloni, Y. Moreno

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Many epidemic processes in networks spread by stochastic contacts among their connected vertices. There are two limiting cases widely analyzed in the physics literature, the so-called contact process (CP) where the contagion is expanded at a certain rate from an infected vertex to one neighbor at a time, and the reactive process (RP) in which an infected individual effectively contacts all its neighbors to expand the epidemics. However, a more realistic scenario is obtained from the interpolation between these two cases, considering a certain number of stochastic contacts per unit time. Here we propose a discrete-time formulation of the problem of contact-based epidemic spreading. We resolve a family of models, parameterized by the number of stochastic contact trials per unit time, that range from the CP to the RP. In contrast to the common heterogeneous mean-field approach, we focus on the probability of infection of individual nodes. Using this formulation, we can construct the whole phase diagram of the different infection models and determine their critical properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38009
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Gómez, S., Arenas, A., Borge-Holthoefer, J., Meloni, S., & Moreno, Y. (2010). Discrete-time Markov chain approach to contact-based disease spreading in complex networks. EPL, 89(3), [38009]. https://doi.org/10.1209/0295-5075/89/38009