A Diffusion Approximation for an Epidemic Model.
Sonderforschungsbereich 386, Discussion Paper 517
Influenza is one of the most common and severe diseases worldwide. Devastating epidemics actuated by a new subtype of the influenza A virus occur again and again with the most important example given by the Spanish Flu in 1918/19 with more than 27 million deaths. For the development of pandemic plans it is essential to understand the character of the dissemination of the disease. We employ an extended SIR model for a probabilistic analysis of the spatio-temporal spread of influenza in Germany. The inhomogeneous mixing of the population is taken into account by the introduction of a network of subregions, connected according to Germany's commuter and domestic air traffic. The infection dynamics is described by a multivariate diffusion process, the discussion of which is a major part of this report. We furthermore present likelihood-based estimates of the model parameters.