Systems thinking in combating infectious diseases

Shang Xia, Xiao Nong Zhou, Jiming LIU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144
JournalInfectious Diseases of Poverty
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

User-Defined Keywords

  • Complex systems approach
  • Infectious disease control
  • Systems thinking


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