Aaron A. King, Ph.D.

Nelson G. Hairston Collegiate Professor of
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Complex Systems, and Mathematics
University of Michigan

Contact network structure explains the changing epidemiology of pertussis

P. Rohani, X. Zhong, and A. A. King
Science 330(6006): 982–985, 2010.
Age-stratified mixing patterns shape the dynamics of disease incidence.

The epidemiology of whooping cough (pertussis) remains enigmatic. A leading cause of infant mortality globally, its resurgence in several developed nations—despite the availability and use of vaccines for many decades—has caused alarm. We combined data from a singular natural experiment and a detailed contact network study to show that age-specific contact patterns alone can explain shifts in prevalence and age-stratified incidence in the vaccine era. The practical implications of our results are notable: Ignoring age-structured contacts is likely to result in misinterpretation of epidemiological data and potentially costly policy missteps.


The official version of the paper is here.   Please contact Prof. King if you'd like a reprint.

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