Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

From herd immunity and complacency to group panic: How vaccine scares unfold

Date:
April 5, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
A new study shows how worries over vaccine risks can allow preventable contagious diseases, such as measles and whooping cough, to make a comeback.

Worries over vaccine risks can allow preventable contagious diseases, such as measles and whooping cough, to make a comeback. A new study, published in PLoS Computational Biology, shows how to predict ways in which population vaccinating behavior might unfold during a vaccine scare.

"These findings might help in evaluating and developing global immunization programs and public health policy," said Professor Chris Bauch of the University of Guelph's Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Prof. Bauch and Samit Bhattacharyya of the University of Utah developed a mathematical, "Behavior-incidence" model based on game theory and social learning. They tested the model with real data from two infamous vaccine scares in England and Wales: the 1970s pertussis outbreak and the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine scare in the 1990s. In both cases, the publication of alleged vaccine risks was followed by a media firestorm in national newspapers, television, and radio. In light of this, the fact that it took 4-5 years for vaccine uptake to bottom out was puzzling. They found that the model could explain the patterns of the vaccine scares very well, and could also be applied predictively to the data sets.

The model captured the interplay between disease dynamics and vaccination behaviour during those episodes. One of the theoretical dynamics for the model was the phenomenon known as "herd immunity"; an entire population -- including unvaccinated individuals -- can be protected from infection by vaccinating only a certain percentage of the population. This suggests that immunization programs can be victims of their own success as past vaccinations drive disease incidence to such low levels that unvaccinated individuals feel no incentive to get vaccinated, creating ideal conditions for vaccine scares and thus future outbreaks.

Due to these conditions, as Prof. Bauch says, "Vaccine scares could become more common as eradication goals are approached for more vaccine-preventable diseases. Such models could help us predict how vaccine scares might unfold and assist in mitigation efforts."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chris T. Bauch, Samit Bhattacharyya. Evolutionary Game Theory and Social Learning Can Determine How Vaccine Scares Unfold. PLoS Computational Biology, 2012; 8 (4): e1002452 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002452

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "From herd immunity and complacency to group panic: How vaccine scares unfold." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405224651.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, April 5). From herd immunity and complacency to group panic: How vaccine scares unfold. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405224651.htm
Public Library of Science. "From herd immunity and complacency to group panic: How vaccine scares unfold." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120405224651.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins