Comparison of algorithms to simulate disease transmission

Xiaobei SHEN, Shui Yee Zoie WONG, Man Ho Alpha LING, David GOLDSMAN, Kwok Leung TSUI

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1 Citation (Scopus)


A complex model to study the spread of influenza often requires efficient algorithms to simulate disease transmission. This article studies the internal mechanisms of existing algorithms. We compare existing algorithms to simulate disease transmission in an effort to identify impact factors and put forth rules for efficient algorithm selection. Specifically, an algorithm from the infectiousness perspective is recommended when both the transmission probabilities and the fraction of infectious individuals are small, or when the transmission probabilities are large but the fraction is either sufficiently small or sufficiently large. In contrast, an algorithm from the susceptible perspective should be adopted in the case of small transmission probabilities but a large fraction of infectious individuals, or large transmission probabilities and a moderate fraction. This investigation not only helps to guide a more-efficient simulation study of disease transmission in practice but also serves as a prerequisite for the development of more-advanced simulation models. Copyright © 2016 The Operational Research Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-294
JournalJournal of Simulation
Issue number3
Early online dateAug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Shen, X., Wong, Z. S.-Y., Ling, M. H., Goldsman, D., & Tsui, K.-L. (2017). Comparison of algorithms to simulate disease transmission. Journal of Simulation, 11(3), 285-294. doi: 10.1057/s41273-016-0003-3


  • Influenza spread
  • Simulation models
  • Algorithms to simulate disease transmission


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