Impacts of road traffic network and socioeconomic factors on the diffusion of 2009 pandemic influenza a (H1N1) in mainland China

Bo Xu, Huaiyu Tian, Clive Eric Sabel, Bing Xu

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36 Citations (Scopus)
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The 2009 pandemic influenza virus caused the majority of the influenza A virus infections in China in 2009. It arrived in several Chinese cities from imported cases and then spread as people travelled domestically by all means of transportation, among which road traffic was the most commonly used for daily commuting. Spatial variation in socioeconomic status not only accelerates migration across regions but also partly induces the differences in epidemic processes and in responses to epidemics across regions. However, the roles of both road travel and socioeconomic factors have not received the attention they deserve. Here, we constructed a national highway network for and between 333 cities in mainland China and extracted epidemiological variables and socioeconomic factors for each city. We calculated classic centrality measures for each city in the network and proposed two new measures (SumRatio and Multicenter Distance). We evaluated the correlation between the centrality measures and epidemiological features and conducted a spatial autoregression to quantify the impacts of road network and socioeconomic factors during the outbreak. The results showed that epidemics had more significant relationships with both our new measures than the classic ones. Higher population density, higher per person income, larger SumRatio and Multicenter Distance, more hospitals and college students, and lower per person GDP were associated with higher cumulative incidence. Higher population density and number of slaughtered pigs were found to advance epidemic arrival time. Higher population density, more colleges and slaughtered pigs, and lower Multicenter Distance were associated with longer epidemic duration. In conclusion, road transport and socioeconomic status had significant impacts and should be considered for the prevention and control of future pandemics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1223
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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