The analysis of real epidemiological data has raised issues of the adequacy of the classic homogeneous modeling framework and quantities, such as the basic reproduction number in real-world situations. Based on high-quality sociodemographic data, here we generate a multiplex network describing the contact pattern of the Italian and Dutch populations. By using a microsimulation approach, we show that, for epidemics spreading on realistic contact networks, it is not possible to define a steady exponential growth phase and a basic reproduction number. We show the operational use of the instantaneous reproduction rate as a good descriptor of the transmission dynamics.
Measurability of the epidemic reproduction number in data-driven contact networks
Quan-Hui Liu, Marco Ajelli, Alberto Aleta, Stefano Merler, Yamir Moreno, and Alessandro Vespignani