From bee species aggregation to models of disease avoidance: The ben-hur effect

K. E. Yong, E. Díaz Herrera, Carlos Castillo-Chavez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Themovie Ben-Hur highlights the dynamics of contagion associated with leprosy, a pattern of forced aggregation driven by the emergence of symptoms and the fear of contagion. The 2014 Ebola outbreaks reaffirmed the dynamics of redistribution among symptomatic and asymptomatic or non-infected individuals as a way to avoid contagion. In this manuscript, we explore the establishment of clusters of infection via density-dependence avoidance (diffusive instability). We illustrate this possibility in two ways: using a phenomenological driven model where disease incidence is assumed to be a decreasing function of the size of the symptomatic population and with a model that accounts for the deliberate movement of individuals in response to a gradient of symptomatic infectious individuals. The results in this manuscript are preliminary but indicative of the role that behavior, here modeled in crude simplistic ways, may have on disease dynamics, particularly on the spatial redistribution of epidemiological classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMathematical and Statistical Modeling for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319404134
ISBN (Print)9783319404110
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Behavior epidemics
  • Behavioral ecology
  • Diffusive instability
  • Ebola
  • Infection clusters
  • Leprosy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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