Dynamically-consistent non-standard finite difference method for an epidemic model

S. M. Garba, A. B. Gumel, J. M.S. Lubuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This paper considers the problem of constructing finite-difference methods that are qualitatively consistent with the original continuous-time model they approximate. To achieve this goal, a deterministic continuous-time model for the transmission dynamics of two strains of an arbitrary disease, in the presence of an imperfect vaccine, is considered. The model is rigorously analysed, first of all, to gain insights into its dynamical features. The analysis reveal that it undergoes a vaccine-induced backward bifurcation when the associated reproduction threshold is less than unity. For the case where the vaccine is 100% effective, the disease-free equilibrium of the model is shown to be globally-asymptotically stable if the reproduction number is less than unity. The model also exhibits the phenomenon of competitive exclusion, where the strain with the higher reproduction number dominates (and drives out) the other. Two finite-difference methods are presented for numerically solving the model. The central objective is to determine which of the two methods gives solutions that are dynamically consistent with those of the continuous-time model. The first method, an implicitly-derived explicit finite-difference method, is considered for its computational simplicity, being a Gauss-Seidel-like algorithm. However, this method is shown to suffer numerous scheme-dependent numerical instabilities and spurious behaviour (such as convergence to the wrong steady-state solutions and failing to preserve many of the main essential dynamical features of the model), particularly when relatively large step-sizes are used in the simulations. On the other hand, the second numerical method, constructed based on Mickens' non-standard finite-difference discretization framework, is shown to be free of any numerical instabilities and contrived behaviour regardless of the size of the step-size used in the numerical simulations. In other words, unlike the first method, the non-standard method is shown to be dynamically consistent with the original continuous-time model, and, therefore, it is more suited for use to study the asymptotic dynamics of the disease transmission model being considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-150
Number of pages20
JournalMathematical and Computer Modelling
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemic model
  • Equilibria
  • Non-standard finite difference scheme
  • Reproduction number
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications


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