Matching Items (48)

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Homo-psychologicus: Reactionary behavioural aspects of epidemics

Description

We formulate an in silico model of pathogen avoidance mechanism and investigate its impact on defensive behavioural measures (e.g., spontaneous social exclusions and distancing, crowd avoidance and voluntary vaccination adaptation).

We formulate an in silico model of pathogen avoidance mechanism and investigate its impact on defensive behavioural measures (e.g., spontaneous social exclusions and distancing, crowd avoidance and voluntary vaccination adaptation). In particular, we use SIR(B)S (e.g., susceptible-infected-recovered with additional behavioural component) model to investigate the impact of homo-psychologicus aspects of epidemics. We focus on reactionary behavioural changes, which apply to both social distancing and voluntary vaccination participations. Our analyses reveal complex relationships between spontaneous and uncoordinated behavioural changes, the emergence of its contagion properties, and mitigation of infectious diseases. We find that the presence of effective behavioural changes can impede the persistence of disease. Furthermore, it was found that under perfect effective behavioural change, there are three regions in the response factor (e.g., imitation and/or reactionary) and behavioural scale factor (e.g., global/local) factors ρ–α behavioural space. Mainly, (1) disease is always endemic even in the presence of behavioural change, (2) behavioural-prevalence plasticity is observed and disease can sometimes be eradication, and (3) elimination of endemic disease under permanence of permanent behavioural change is achieved. These results suggest that preventive behavioural changes (e.g., non-pharmaceutical prophylactic measures, social distancing and exclusion, crowd avoidance) are influenced by individual differences in perception of risks and are a salient feature of epidemics. Additionally, these findings indicates that care needs to be taken when considering the effect of adaptive behavioural change in predicting the course of epidemics, and as well as the interpretation and development of the public health measures that account for spontaneous behavioural changes.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-10-14

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Merging Economics and Epidemiology to Improve the Prediction and Management of Infectious Disease

Description

Mathematical epidemiology, one of the oldest and richest areas in mathematical biology, has significantly enhanced our understanding of how pathogens emerge, evolve, and spread. Classical epidemiological models, the standard for

Mathematical epidemiology, one of the oldest and richest areas in mathematical biology, has significantly enhanced our understanding of how pathogens emerge, evolve, and spread. Classical epidemiological models, the standard for predicting and managing the spread of infectious disease, assume that contacts between susceptible and infectious individuals depend on their relative frequency in the population. The behavioral factors that underpin contact rates are not generally addressed. There is, however, an emerging a class of models that addresses the feedbacks between infectious disease dynamics and the behavioral decisions driving host contact. Referred to as “economic epidemiology” or “epidemiological economics,” the approach explores the determinants of decisions about the number and type of contacts made by individuals, using insights and methods from economics. We show how the approach has the potential both to improve predictions of the course of infectious disease, and to support development of novel approaches to infectious disease management.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-12-01

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Resource Consumption, Sustainability, and Cancer

Description

Preserving a system’s viability in the presence of diversity erosion is critical if the goal is to sustainably support biodiversity. Reduction in population heterogeneity, whether inter- or intraspecies, may increase

Preserving a system’s viability in the presence of diversity erosion is critical if the goal is to sustainably support biodiversity. Reduction in population heterogeneity, whether inter- or intraspecies, may increase population fragility, either decreasing its ability to adapt effectively to environmental changes or facilitating the survival and success of ordinarily rare phenotypes. The latter may result in over-representation of individuals who may participate in resource utilization patterns that can lead to over-exploitation, exhaustion, and, ultimately, collapse of both the resource and the population that depends on it. Here, we aim to identify regimes that can signal whether a consumer–resource system is capable of supporting viable degrees of heterogeneity. The framework used here is an expansion of a previously introduced consumer–resource type system of a population of individuals classified by their resource consumption. Application of the Reduction Theorem to the system enables us to evaluate the health of the system through tracking both the mean value of the parameter of resource (over)consumption, and the population variance, as both change over time. The article concludes with a discussion that highlights applicability of the proposed system to investigation of systems that are affected by particularly devastating overly adapted populations, namely cancerous cells. Potential intervention approaches for system management are discussed in the context of cancer therapies.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-02-01

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On the dynamics of dengue virus type 2 with residence times and vertical transmission

Description

A two-patch mathematical model of Dengue virus type 2 (DENV-2) that accounts for vectors’ vertical transmission and between patches human dispersal is introduced. Dispersal is modelled via a Lagrangian approach.

A two-patch mathematical model of Dengue virus type 2 (DENV-2) that accounts for vectors’ vertical transmission and between patches human dispersal is introduced. Dispersal is modelled via a Lagrangian approach. A host-patch residence-times basic reproduction number is derived and conditions under which the disease dies out or persists are established. Analytical and numerical results highlight the role of hosts’ dispersal in mitigating or exacerbating disease dynamics. The framework is used to explore dengue dynamics using, as a starting point, the 2002 outbreak in the state of Colima, Mexico.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-08-05

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The role of mobility and health disparities on the transmission dynamics of Tuberculosis

Description

Background
The transmission dynamics of Tuberculosis (TB) involve complex epidemiological and socio-economical interactions between individuals living in highly distinct regional conditions. The level of exogenous reinfection and first time infection

Background
The transmission dynamics of Tuberculosis (TB) involve complex epidemiological and socio-economical interactions between individuals living in highly distinct regional conditions. The level of exogenous reinfection and first time infection rates within high-incidence settings may influence the impact of control programs on TB prevalence. The impact that effective population size and the distribution of individuals’ residence times in different patches have on TB transmission and control are studied using selected scenarios where risk is defined by the estimated or perceive first time infection and/or exogenous re-infection rates.
Methods
This study aims at enhancing the understanding of TB dynamics, within simplified, two patch, risk-defined environments, in the presence of short term mobility and variations in reinfection and infection rates via a mathematical model. The modeling framework captures the role of individuals’ ‘daily’ dynamics within and between places of residency, work or business via the average proportion of time spent in residence and as visitors to TB-risk environments (patches). As a result, the effective population size of Patch i (home of i-residents) at time t must account for visitors and residents of Patch i, at time t.
Results
The study identifies critical social behaviors mechanisms that can facilitate or eliminate TB infection in vulnerable populations. The results suggest that short-term mobility between heterogeneous patches contributes to significant overall increases in TB prevalence when risk is considered only in terms of direct new infection transmission, compared to the effect of exogenous reinfection. Although, the role of exogenous reinfection increases the risk that come from large movement of individuals, due to catastrophes or conflict, to TB-free areas.
Conclusions
The study highlights that allowing infected individuals to move from high to low TB prevalence areas (for example via the sharing of treatment and isolation facilities) may lead to a reduction in the total TB prevalence in the overall population. The higher the population size heterogeneity between distinct risk patches, the larger the benefit (low overall prevalence) under the same “traveling” patterns. Policies need to account for population specific factors (such as risks that are inherent with high levels of migration, local and regional mobility patterns, and first time infection rates) in order to be long lasting, effective and results in low number of drug resistant cases.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-01-11

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Mass Media and the Contagion of Fear: The Case of Ebola in America

Description

Background
In the weeks following the first imported case of Ebola in the U. S. on September 29, 2014, coverage of the very limited outbreak dominated the news media, in

Background
In the weeks following the first imported case of Ebola in the U. S. on September 29, 2014, coverage of the very limited outbreak dominated the news media, in a manner quite disproportionate to the actual threat to national public health; by the end of October, 2014, there were only four laboratory confirmed cases of Ebola in the entire nation. Public interest in these events was high, as reflected in the millions of Ebola-related Internet searches and tweets performed in the month following the first confirmed case. Use of trending Internet searches and tweets has been proposed in the past for real-time prediction of outbreaks (a field referred to as “digital epidemiology”), but accounting for the biases of public panic has been problematic. In the case of the limited U. S. Ebola outbreak, we know that the Ebola-related searches and tweets originating the U. S. during the outbreak were due only to public interest or panic, providing an unprecedented means to determine how these dynamics affect such data, and how news media may be driving these trends.
Methodology
We examine daily Ebola-related Internet search and Twitter data in the U. S. during the six week period ending Oct 31, 2014. TV news coverage data were obtained from the daily number of Ebola-related news videos appearing on two major news networks. We fit the parameters of a mathematical contagion model to the data to determine if the news coverage was a significant factor in the temporal patterns in Ebola-related Internet and Twitter data.
Conclusions
We find significant evidence of contagion, with each Ebola-related news video inspiring tens of thousands of Ebola-related tweets and Internet searches. Between 65% to 76% of the variance in all samples is described by the news media contagion model.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-06-11

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Did Modeling Overestimate the Transmission Potential of Pandemic (H1N1-2009)? Sample Size Estimation for Post-Epidemic Seroepidemiological Studies

Description

Background
Seroepidemiological studies before and after the epidemic wave of H1N1-2009 are useful for estimating population attack rates with a potential to validate early estimates of the reproduction number, R,

Background
Seroepidemiological studies before and after the epidemic wave of H1N1-2009 are useful for estimating population attack rates with a potential to validate early estimates of the reproduction number, R, in modeling studies.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Since the final epidemic size, the proportion of individuals in a population who become infected during an epidemic, is not the result of a binomial sampling process because infection events are not independent of each other, we propose the use of an asymptotic distribution of the final size to compute approximate 95% confidence intervals of the observed final size. This allows the comparison of the observed final sizes against predictions based on the modeling study (R = 1.15, 1.40 and 1.90), which also yields simple formulae for determining sample sizes for future seroepidemiological studies. We examine a total of eleven published seroepidemiological studies of H1N1-2009 that took place after observing the peak incidence in a number of countries. Observed seropositive proportions in six studies appear to be smaller than that predicted from R = 1.40; four of the six studies sampled serum less than one month after the reported peak incidence. The comparison of the observed final sizes against R = 1.15 and 1.90 reveals that all eleven studies appear not to be significantly deviating from the prediction with R = 1.15, but final sizes in nine studies indicate overestimation if the value R = 1.90 is used.
Conclusions
Sample sizes of published seroepidemiological studies were too small to assess the validity of model predictions except when R = 1.90 was used. We recommend the use of the proposed approach in determining the sample size of post-epidemic seroepidemiological studies, calculating the 95% confidence interval of observed final size, and conducting relevant hypothesis testing instead of the use of methods that rely on a binomial proportion.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2011-03-24

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Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings

Description

Background
Several past studies have found that media reports of suicides and homicides appear to subsequently increase the incidence of similar events in the community, apparently due to the coverage

Background
Several past studies have found that media reports of suicides and homicides appear to subsequently increase the incidence of similar events in the community, apparently due to the coverage planting the seeds of ideation in at-risk individuals to commit similar acts.
Methods
Here we explore whether or not contagion is evident in more high-profile incidents, such as school shootings and mass killings (incidents with four or more people killed). We fit a contagion model to recent data sets related to such incidents in the US, with terms that take into account the fact that a school shooting or mass murder may temporarily increase the probability of a similar event in the immediate future, by assuming an exponential decay in contagiousness after an event.
Conclusions
We find significant evidence that mass killings involving firearms are incented by similar events in the immediate past. On average, this temporary increase in probability lasts 13 days, and each incident incites at least 0.30 new incidents (p = 0.0015). We also find significant evidence of contagion in school shootings, for which an incident is contagious for an average of 13 days, and incites an average of at least 0.22 new incidents (p = 0.0001). All p-values are assessed based on a likelihood ratio test comparing the likelihood of a contagion model to that of a null model with no contagion. On average, mass killings involving firearms occur approximately every two weeks in the US, while school shootings occur on average monthly. We find that state prevalence of firearm ownership is significantly associated with the state incidence of mass killings with firearms, school shootings, and mass shootings.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-07-02

Estimate of the reproduction number of the 2015 Zika virus outbreak in Barranquilla, Colombia, and estimation of the relative role of sexual transmission

Description

Background
In 2015, the Zika arbovirus (ZIKV) began circulating in the Americas, rapidly expanding its global geographic range in explosive outbreaks. Unusual among mosquito-borne diseases, ZIKV has been shown to

Background
In 2015, the Zika arbovirus (ZIKV) began circulating in the Americas, rapidly expanding its global geographic range in explosive outbreaks. Unusual among mosquito-borne diseases, ZIKV has been shown to also be sexually transmitted, although sustained autochthonous transmission due to sexual transmission alone has not been observed, indicating the reproduction number (R0) for sexual transmission alone is less than 1. Critical to the assessment of outbreak risk, estimation of the potential attack rates, and assessment of control measures, are estimates of the basic reproduction number, R0.
Methods
We estimated the R0 of the 2015 ZIKV outbreak in Barranquilla, Colombia, through an analysis of the exponential rise in clinically identified ZIKV cases (n = 359 to the end of November, 2015).
Findings
The rate of exponential rise in cases was ρ = 0.076 days[superscript −1], with 95% CI [0.066,0.087] days[superscript −1]. We used a vector-borne disease model with additional direct transmission to estimate the R0; assuming the R0 of sexual transmission alone is less than 1, we estimated the total R0 = 3.8 [2.4,5.6], and that the fraction of cases due to sexual transmission was 0.23 [0.01,0.47] with 95% confidence.
Interpretation
This is among the first estimates of R0 for a ZIKV outbreak in the Americas, and also among the first quantifications of the relative impact of sexual transmission.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-10-17

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Impact of Teaching an Interdisciplinary Course Introduction of Applied Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences on High School Students' Skills and Attitudes Towards Mathematics in a JBMSHP Summer Program

Description

Research shows that the subject of mathematics, although revered, remains a source of trepidation for many individuals, as they find it difficult to form a connection between the work they

Research shows that the subject of mathematics, although revered, remains a source of trepidation for many individuals, as they find it difficult to form a connection between the work they do on paper and their work's practical applications. This research study describes the impact of teaching a challenging introductive applied mathematics course on high school students' skills and attitudes towards mathematics in a college Summer Program. In the analysis of my research data, I identified several emerging changes in skills and attitudes towards mathematics, skills that high-school students needed or developed when taking the mathematical modeling course. Results indicated that the applied mathematics course had a positive impact on several students' attitudes, in general, such as, self-confidence, meanings of what mathematics is, and their perceptions of what solutions are. It also had a positive impact on several skills, such as translating real-life situations to mathematics via flow diagrams, translating the models' solutions back from mathematics to the real world, and interpreting graphs. Students showed positive results when the context of their problems was applied or graphical, and fewer improvement on problems that were not. Research also indicated some negatives outcomes, a decrease in confidence for certain students, and persistent negative ways of thinking about graphs. Based on these findings, I make recommendations for teaching similar mathematical modeling at the pre-university level, to encourage the development of young students through educational, research and similar mentorship activities, to increase their inspiration and interest in mathematics, and possibly consider a variety of sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics-related (STEM) fields and careers.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020