Ebola virus

Mathematical models: A key tool for outbreak response

In recent years, mathematical models and computer simulations have become an integral part of planning and coordinating public health response to outbreaks of infectious disease. Models are useful for prediction, counter-factual investigation (“what if…”), scenario analysis, inference, and other forms of structured reasoning. But, models also rely on having good sources of information — including both data for model fitting and qualitative information used to design the model.

Our recent opinion piece explores these aspects of epidemic modeling in the context of the ongoing epidemic of Ebola virus disease in West Africa

  • Lofgren, E., M.E. Halloran, C.M. Rivers, J.M. Drake, T.C. Porco, B. Lewis, W. Yang, A. Vespignani, J. Shaman, J.N.S. Eisenberg, M.C. Eisenberg, M. Marathe, S.V. Scarpino, K.A. Alexander, R. Meza, M.J. Ferrari, J.M. Hyman, L.A. Meyers, S. Eubank. 2014. Mathematical models: A key tool for outbreak response. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (in press). [online]