Effects of population density on the spread of disease

Patrick M. Tarwater, Clyde F. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The effect of population density on the epidemic outbreak of measles or measles-like infectious diseases was evaluated. Using average-number contacts with susceptible individuals per infectious individual as a measure of population density, an analytical model for the distribution of the nonstationary stochastic process of susceptible contact is presented. A 5-dimensional lattice simulation model of disease spread was used to evaluate the effects of four different population densities. A zero-inflated Poisson probability model was used to quantify the nonstationarity of the contact rate in the stochastic epidemic process. Analysis of the simulation results identified a decrease in a susceptible contact rate from four to three, resulted in a dramatic effect on the distribution of contacts over time, the magnitude of the outbreak, and, ultimately, the spread of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Epidemic
  • Measles
  • Outbreak
  • Simulation
  • Stochastic model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General


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