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Information geometry and entropy in a stochastic epidemic rate process

  • Dodson, C. T. J.
Publication Date
Dec 16, 2010
Submission Date
Mar 17, 2009
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Epidemic models with inhomogeneous populations have been used to study major outbreaks and recently Britton and Lindenstrand \cite{BL} described the case when latency and infectivity have independent gamma distributions. They found that variability in these random variables had opposite effects on the epidemic growth rate. That rate increased with greater variability in latency but decreased with greater variability in infectivity. Here we extend their result by using the McKay bivariate gamma distribution for the joint distribution of latency and infectivity, recovering the above effects of variability but allowing possible correlation. We use methods of stochastic rate processes to obtain explicit solutions for the growth of the epidemic and the evolution of the inhomogeneity and information entropy. We obtain a closed analytic solution to the evolution of the distribution of the number of uninfected individuals as the epidemic proceeds, and a concomitant expression for the decay of entropy. The family of McKay bivariate gamma distributions has a tractable information geometry which provides a framework in which the evolution of distributions can be studied as the outbreak grows, with a natural distance structure for quantitative tracking of progress.

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