Modelling the influence of human behaviour on the spread of infectious diseases: a review

Human behaviour plays an important role in the spread of infectious diseases, and understanding the influence of behaviour on the spread of diseases can be key to improving control efforts. While behavioural responses to the spread of a disease have often been reported anecdotally, there has been relatively little systematic investigation into how behavioural changes can affect disease dynamics. Mathematical models for the spread of infectious diseases are an important tool for investigating and quantifying such effects, not least because the spread of a disease among humans is not amenable to direct experimental study. Here, we review recent efforts to incorporate human behaviour into disease models, and propose that such models can be broadly classified according to the type and source of information which individuals are assumed to base their behaviour on, and according to the assumed effects of such behaviour. We highlight recent advances as well as gaps in our understanding of the interplay between infectious disease dynamics and human behaviour, and suggest what kind of data taking efforts would be helpful in filling these gaps.


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