Synergy in spreading processes: from exploitative to explorative foraging strategies

Francisco J. Perez-Reche, Jonathan J. Ludlam, Sergei N. Taraskin, Christopher A. Gilligan

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40 Citations (Scopus)
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An epidemiological model which incorporates synergistic effects that allow the infectivity and/or susceptibility of hosts to be dependent on the number of infected neighbours is proposed. Constructive synergy induces an exploitative behaviour which results in a rapid invasion that infects a large number of hosts. Interfering synergy leads to a slower and sparser explorative foraging strategy that traverses larger distances by infecting fewer hosts. The model can be mapped to a dynamical bond-percolation with spatial correlations that affect the mechanism of spread but do not influence the critical behaviour of epidemics.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemics
  • Synergy
  • Foraging strategies
  • Invasion


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