Illinois Journal of Mathematics

A phase transition in a model for the spread of an infection

Harry Kesten and Vladas Sidoravicius

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We show that a certain model for the spread of an infection has a phase transition in the recuperation rate. The model is as follows: There are particles or individuals of type $A$ and type $B$, interpreted as healthy and infected, respectively. All particles perform independent, continuous time, simple random walks on $\mathbb{Z}^d$ with the same jump rate $D$. The only interaction between the particles is that at the moment when a $B$-particle jumps to a site which contains an $A$-particle, or vice versa, the $A$-particle turns into a $B$-particle. All $B$-particles recuperate (that is, turn back into $A$-particles) independently of each other at a rate $\la$. We assume that we start the system with $N_A(x,0-)$ $A$-particles at $x$, and that the $N_A(x,0-), \, x \in \mathbb{Z}^d$, are i.i.d., mean $\mu_A$ Poisson random variables. In addition we start with one additional $B$-particle at the origin. We show that there is a critical recuperation rate $\la_c > 0$ such that the $B$-particles survive (globally) with positive probability if $\la < \la_c$ and die out with probability 1 if $\la > \la_c$.

Article information

Illinois J. Math., Volume 50, Number 1-4 (2006), 547-634.

First available in Project Euclid: 12 November 2009

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Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)

Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Primary: 60K35: Interacting random processes; statistical mechanics type models; percolation theory [See also 82B43, 82C43]
Secondary: 82C22: Interacting particle systems [See also 60K35] 92D30: Epidemiology


Kesten, Harry; Sidoravicius, Vladas. A phase transition in a model for the spread of an infection. Illinois J. Math. 50 (2006), no. 1-4, 547--634. doi:10.1215/ijm/1258059486.

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