Research article

Asymptomatic transmission shifts epidemic dynamics

  • Received: 12 August 2020 Accepted: 20 October 2020 Published: 19 November 2020
  • Asymptomatic transmission of infectious diseases has been recognized recently in several epidemics or pandemics. There is a great need to incorporate asymptomatic transmissions into traditional modeling of infectious diseases and to study how asymptomatic transmissions shift epidemic dynamics. In this work, we propose a compartmental model with asymptomatic transmissions for waterborne infectious diseases. We conduct a detailed analysis and numerical study with shigellosis data. Two parameters, the proportion $p$ of asymptomatic infected individuals and the proportion $k$ of asymptomatic infectious individuals who can asymptomatically transmit diseases, play major rules in the epidemic dynamics. The basic reproduction number $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ is a decreasing function of parameter $p$ when parameter $k$ is smaller than a critical value while $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ is an increasing function of $p$ when $k$ is greater than the critical value. $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ is an increasing function of $k$ for any value of $p$. When $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ passes through 1 as $p$ or $k$ varies, the dynamics of epidemics is shifted. If asymptomatic transmissions are not counted, $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ will be underestimated while the final size may be overestimated or underestimated. Our study provides a theoretical example for investigating other asymptomatic transmissions and useful information for public health measurements in waterborne infectious diseases.

    Citation: Jinlong Lv, Songbai Guo, Jing-An Cui, Jianjun Paul Tian. Asymptomatic transmission shifts epidemic dynamics[J]. Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 2021, 18(1): 92-111. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2021005

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  • Asymptomatic transmission of infectious diseases has been recognized recently in several epidemics or pandemics. There is a great need to incorporate asymptomatic transmissions into traditional modeling of infectious diseases and to study how asymptomatic transmissions shift epidemic dynamics. In this work, we propose a compartmental model with asymptomatic transmissions for waterborne infectious diseases. We conduct a detailed analysis and numerical study with shigellosis data. Two parameters, the proportion $p$ of asymptomatic infected individuals and the proportion $k$ of asymptomatic infectious individuals who can asymptomatically transmit diseases, play major rules in the epidemic dynamics. The basic reproduction number $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ is a decreasing function of parameter $p$ when parameter $k$ is smaller than a critical value while $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ is an increasing function of $p$ when $k$ is greater than the critical value. $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ is an increasing function of $k$ for any value of $p$. When $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ passes through 1 as $p$ or $k$ varies, the dynamics of epidemics is shifted. If asymptomatic transmissions are not counted, $\mathscr{R}_{0}$ will be underestimated while the final size may be overestimated or underestimated. Our study provides a theoretical example for investigating other asymptomatic transmissions and useful information for public health measurements in waterborne infectious diseases.
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    © 2021 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)
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