Scale-free distribution of avian influenza outbreaks

Michael Small, David M. Walker, Chi Kong Tse

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Using global case data for the period from 25 November 2003 to 10 March 2007, we construct a network of plausible transmission pathways for the spread of avian influenza among domestic and wild birds. The network structure we obtain is complex and exhibits scale-free (although not necessarily small-world) properties. Communities within this network are connected with a distribution of links with infinite variance. Hence, the disease transmission model does not exhibit a threshold and so the infection will continue to propagate even with very low transmissibility. Consequentially, eradication with methods applicable to locally homogeneous populations is not possible. Any control measure needs to focus explicitly on the hubs within this network structure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number188702
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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