Systems thinking in combating infectious diseases

Infectious Diseases of Poverty
[Accessed 16 September 2017]

Systems thinking in combating infectious diseases
Shang Xia, Xiao-Nong Zhou and Jiming Liu
Published on: 11 September 2017
The transmission of infectious diseases is a dynamic process determined by multiple factors originating from disease pathogens and/or parasites, vector species, and human populations. These factors interact with each other and demonstrate the intrinsic mechanisms of the disease transmission temporally, spatially, and socially. In this article, we provide a comprehensive perspective, named as systems thinking, for investigating disease dynamics and associated impact factors, by means of emphasizing the entirety of a system’s components and the complexity of their interrelated behaviors. We further develop the general steps for performing systems approach to tackling infectious diseases in the real-world settings, so as to expand our abilities to understand, predict, and mitigate infectious diseases.