Positively interacting strains that co-circulate within a network structured population induce cycling epidemics of Mycoplasma pneumoniae

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Abstract

Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP) is considered a common cause of pneumonia, causing about 15–20% of adult community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and up to 40% of cases in children. It has often been observed that MP epidemics last approximately 1–2 years and occur every 3–7 years, with the dominant strains alternating between epidemics. However, the underlying mechanism by which these cycles and changes in the dominant strains occur remains unclear. The traditional models for the periodicity of MP epidemics neglected two phenomena: structured contact patterns among people and co-circulating strains of MP. We also believe that the two distinctive aspects of MP epidemics: prevalent serotype shifts among epidemics and incidence cycling of MP, are interconnected. We propose a network transmission model that assumes two strains of MP are transmitted within a network structured population and they can interact as secondary infections with primary infections. Our studies show that multiple strains that co-circulate within a network structured population and interact positively generate the observed patterns of recurrent epidemics of MP. Hence our study provides a possible mechanism for the cycling epidemics of MP, and could provide useful information for future vaccine design and vaccine evaluation/monitoring processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number541
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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