Europhys. Lett.
Volume 68, Number 1, October 2004
Page(s) 147 - 152
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 01 September 2004
Europhys. Lett., 68 (1), pp. 147-152 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10163-0

On the origin of the super-spreading events in the SARS epidemic

Haiping Fang1, 2, Jixiu Chen3, Jun Hu1, 2 and Lisa X. Xu2

1  Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences P.O. Box 800-204, Shanghai 201800, PRC
2  Bio-X Life Sciences Research Center, Shanghai JiaoTong University 1954 Huashan Rd., Shanghai 200030, PRC
3  Department of Infectious Disease, Changhai Hospital the Second Military Medical University - Shanghai 200433, PRC

received 29 January 2004; accepted in final form 27 July 2004

"Super-spread events" (SSEs), which have been observed in Singapore, Hong Kong in China and many cities all over the world, usually have a large influence on the early course of the epidemics. The understanding of these SSEs is critical to the containment of SARS. In this letter it is shown that the possibility of SSEs is still high enough even when the virulences are equal for all the infective individuals, based on a simple spatial-relevant Monte Carlo model (SEIR). The long latent periods play a critical role in the appearance of SSEs. The heterogeneity of the activities of infective cases can also increase the possibility.

87.90.+y - Other topics in biological and medical physics.
05.40.Fb - Random walks and Levy flights.

© EDP Sciences 2004