Seasonality and dynamics of whooping cough
Nguyen, Hanh Thi Hong
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Whooping cough (pertussis) dynamics provide an interesting disease ecology case study. Unlike other childhood diseases, the observed patterns of pertussis dynamics are found very diverse and are not easily captured by simple deterministic models. This has led to the current understanding that the disease dynamics can only be explained by adding stochasticity into the models. In this work, we demonstrate that an appropriate deterministic model can explain pertussis dynamics. The consequences of using the model in making public health decisions are also discussed. Whooping cough dynamics also exhibits strong seasonality, which is thought to result from variation in contact rates. In this research, seasonal change in disease incidence and the timing of outbreaks are also analyzed using case report data from several UK cities. We show that birth rates in prior years have a positive correlation with current outbreak sizes and a negative correlation with current outbreak peak time. A modeling approach is also used to understand and explain the patterns found in the data.