Methodological Approaches to Planning and Analysis of New Infectious Diseases


Principal Investigator:
Marc Lipsitch, Professor


Dates of Research:
February 1, 2006 — September 14, 2009


Preparing for and responding to novel and re-emerging infectious diseases requires a range of mathematical models to: a) understand and prevent the initial steps leading to emergence of new disease from a purely zoonotic risk to human-to-human spread; b) evaluate key parameters of the disease, including its reproduction number, serial interval, time course of infectiousness, etc. in the early phases of an outbreak; and c) plan in advance for control measures, using models to compare the course of the epidemic (and its distribution) across various policies. This study will: a) develop models of control policies to minimize the spread of an infectious disease during the first cycles of transmission within humans; b) develop tools for use in real time to estimate the reproductive number, effectiveness of control measures, and timing of infectiousness from the limited data available early in an outbreak; and c) develop mathematical modeling tools that capture the key features of realistic disease transmission networks in models of intermediate complexity. The goal of the work is to design tools that will aid in understanding and generalizing the output of computationally complex models of disease transmission.