Outbreaks of infectious diseases can devastate a population. Researchers thus study the spread of an infection in a habitat to learn methods of control. In mathematical epidemiology, disease transmission is often assumed to adhere to the law of mass action, yet there are numerous other incidence terms existing in the literature. With recent global outbreaks and epidemics, spatial heterogeneity has been at the forefront of these epidemiological models. We formulate and analyze a model for humans in a homogeneous population with a nonlinear incidence function and demographics of birth and death. We allow for the combination of host immunity after recovery from infection or host susceptibility once the infection has run its course in the individual. We compute the basic reproduction number, R0, for the system and determine the global stability of the equilibrium states. If R0 < = 1, the population tends towards a disease-free state. If R0 > 1, an endemic equilibrium exists, and the disease is persistent in the population. This work provides the framework needed for a spatially heterogeneous model. The model is then expanded to include a set of cities (or patches), each of which is structured from the homogeneous model. Movement is introduced, allowing travel between the cities at different rates. We assume there always exists a potentially non-direct route between two cities, and the movement need not be symmetric between two patches. Further, each city has its own nonlinear incidence function, demographics, and recovery rates, allowing for realistic interpretations of country-wide network structures. New global stability results are established for the disease-free equilibrium and endemic equilibrium, the latter utilizing a graph theoretic approach and Lyapunov functions. Asymptotic profiles are determined for both the disease-free equilibrium and basic reproduction number as the diffusion of human individuals is faster than the disease dynamics. A numerical investigation is performed on a star network, emulating a rural-urban society with a center city and surrounding suburbs. Numerical simulations give rise to similar and contrasting behavior for symmetric movement to the proposed asymmetric movement. Conjectures are made for the monotonicty of the basic reproduction number in terms of the diffusion of susceptible and infectious individuals. The limiting behavior of the system as the diffusion of susceptibles halts is shown to experience varying behavior based on the location of hot spots and biased movement.


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Graduation Date





Shuai, Zhisheng


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program










Release Date

August 2019

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Mathematics Commons