Spatial immunization to abate disease spreading in transportation hubs

Mazzoli, Mattia; Gallotti, Riccardo; Privitera, Filippo; Colet, Pere; Ramasco, Jose J.
Nature Communications 14, 1448 (2023)

Proximity social interactions are crucial for infectious diseases transmission. Crowded agglomerations pose serious risk of triggering superspreading events. Locations like transportation hubs (airports and stations) are designed to optimize logistic efficiency, not to reduce crowding, and are characterized by a constant in and out flow of people. Here, we analyze the paradigmatic example of London Heathrow, one of the busiest European airports. Thanks to a dataset of anonymized individuals' trajectories, we can model the spreading of different diseases to localize the contagion hotspots and to propose a spatial immunization policy targeting them to reduce disease spreading risk. We also detect the most vulnerable destinations to contagions produced at the airport and quantify the benefits of the spatial immunization technique to prevent regional and global disease diffusion. This method is immediately generalizable to train, metro and bus stations and to other facilities such as commercial or convention centers.

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