Matching Items (29)

Filtering by

Clear all filters

128259-Thumbnail Image.png

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). In particular, we use SIR(B)S (e.g., susceptible-infected-recovered with additional behavioural

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

129001-Thumbnail Image.png

Mitigating Effects of Vaccination on Influenza Outbreaks Given Constraints in Stockpile Size and Daily Administration Capacity

Description

Background: Influenza viruses are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Vaccination remains a powerful tool for preventing or mitigating influenza outbreaks. Yet, vaccine supplies and daily administration capacities are limited, even in developed countries. Understanding how such constraints can

Background: Influenza viruses are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Vaccination remains a powerful tool for preventing or mitigating influenza outbreaks. Yet, vaccine supplies and daily administration capacities are limited, even in developed countries. Understanding how such constraints can alter the mitigating effects of vaccination is a crucial part of influenza preparedness plans. Mathematical models provide tools for government and medical officials to assess the impact of different vaccination strategies and plan accordingly. However, many existing models of vaccination employ several questionable assumptions, including a rate of vaccination proportional to the population at each point in time.

Methods: We present a SIR-like model that explicitly takes into account vaccine supply and the number of vaccines administered per day and places data-informed limits on these parameters. We refer to this as the non-proportional model of vaccination and compare it to the proportional scheme typically found in the literature.

Results: The proportional and non-proportional models behave similarly for a few different vaccination scenarios. However, there are parameter regimes involving the vaccination campaign duration and daily supply limit for which the non-proportional model predicts smaller epidemics that peak later, but may last longer, than those of the proportional model. We also use the non-proportional model to predict the mitigating effects of variably timed vaccination campaigns for different levels of vaccination coverage, using specific constraints on daily administration capacity.

Conclusions: The non-proportional model of vaccination is a theoretical improvement that provides more accurate predictions of the mitigating effects of vaccination on influenza outbreaks than the proportional model. In addition, parameters such as vaccine supply and daily administration limit can be easily adjusted to simulate conditions in developed and developing nations with a wide variety of financial and medical resources. Finally, the model can be used by government and medical officials to create customized pandemic preparedness plans based on the supply and administration constraints of specific communities.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2011-08-01

129017-Thumbnail Image.png

The Influence of Geographic and Climate Factors on the Timing of Dengue Epidemics in Perú, 1994-2008

Description

Background: Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that affects between 50 and 100 million people each year. Increasing our understanding of the heterogeneous transmission patterns of dengue at different spatial scales could have considerable public health value by guiding intervention strategies.

Methods: Based

Background: Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that affects between 50 and 100 million people each year. Increasing our understanding of the heterogeneous transmission patterns of dengue at different spatial scales could have considerable public health value by guiding intervention strategies.

Methods: Based on the weekly number of dengue cases in Perú by province, we investigated the association between dengue incidence during the period 1994-2008 and demographic and climate factors across geographic regions of the country.

Results: Our findings support the presence of significant differences in the timing of dengue epidemics between jungle and coastal regions, with differences significantly associated with the timing of the seasonal cycle of mean temperature.

Conclusions: Dengue is highly persistent in jungle areas of Perú where epidemics peak most frequently around March when rainfall is abundant. Differences in the timing of dengue epidemics in jungle and coastal regions are significantly associated with the seasonal temperature cycle. Our results suggest that dengue is frequently imported into coastal regions through infective sparks from endemic jungle areas and/or cities of other neighboring endemic countries, where propitious environmental conditions promote year-round mosquito breeding sites. If jungle endemic areas are responsible for multiple dengue introductions into coastal areas, our findings suggest that curtailing the transmission of dengue in these most persistent areas could lead to significant reductions in dengue incidence in coastal areas where dengue incidence typically reaches low levels during the dry season.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2011-06-08

129018-Thumbnail Image.png

The Influence of Climatic Conditions on the Transmission Dynamics of the 2009 A/H1N1 Influenza Pandemic in Chile

Description

Background: The role of demographic factors, climatic conditions, school cycles, and connectivity patterns in shaping the spatio-temporal dynamics of pandemic influenza is not clearly understood. Here we analyzed the spatial, age and temporal evolution of the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic in

Background: The role of demographic factors, climatic conditions, school cycles, and connectivity patterns in shaping the spatio-temporal dynamics of pandemic influenza is not clearly understood. Here we analyzed the spatial, age and temporal evolution of the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic in Chile, a southern hemisphere country covering a long and narrow strip comprising latitudes 17°S to 56°S.

Methods: We analyzed the dissemination patterns of the 2009 A/H1N1 pandemic across 15 regions of Chile based on daily hospitalizations for severe acute respiratory disease and laboratory confirmed A/H1N1 influenza infection from 01-May to 31-December, 2009. We explored the association between timing of pandemic onset and peak pandemic activity and several geographical and demographic indicators, school vacations, climatic factors, and international passengers. We also estimated the reproduction number (R) based on the growth rate of the exponential pandemic phase by date of symptoms onset, estimated using maximum likelihood methods.

Results: While earlier pandemic onset was associated with larger population size, there was no association with connectivity, demographic, school or climatic factors. In contrast, there was a latitudinal gradient in peak pandemic timing, representing a 16-39-day lag in disease activity from the southern regions relative to the northernmost region (P < 0.001). Geographical differences in latitude of Chilean regions, maximum temperature and specific humidity explained 68.5% of the variability in peak timing (P = 0.01). In addition, there was a decreasing gradient in reproduction number from south to north Chile (P < 0.0001). The regional mean R estimates were 1.6-2.0, 1.3-1.5, and 1.2-1.3 for southern, central and northern regions, respectively, which were not affected by the winter vacation period.

Conclusions: There was a lag in the period of most intense 2009 pandemic influenza activity following a South to North traveling pattern across regions of Chile, significantly associated with geographical differences in minimum temperature and specific humidity. The latitudinal gradient in timing of pandemic activity was accompanied by a gradient in reproduction number (P < 0.0001). Intensified surveillance strategies in colder and drier southern regions could lead to earlier detection of pandemic influenza viruses and improved control outcomes.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2012-11-13

129244-Thumbnail Image.png

Identifying Robustness in the Regulation of Collective Foraging of Ant Colonies Using an Interaction-Based Model With Backward Bifurcation

Description

Collective behaviors in social insect societies often emerge from simple local rules. However, little is known about how these behaviors are dynamically regulated in response to environmental changes. Here, we use a compartmental modeling approach to identify factors that allow

Collective behaviors in social insect societies often emerge from simple local rules. However, little is known about how these behaviors are dynamically regulated in response to environmental changes. Here, we use a compartmental modeling approach to identify factors that allow harvester ant colonies to regulate collective foraging activity in response to their environment. We propose a set of differential equations describing the dynamics of: (1) available foragers inside the nest, (2) active foragers outside the nest, and (3) successful returning foragers, to understand how colony-specific parameters, such as baseline number of foragers, interactions among foragers, food discovery rates, successful forager return rates, and foraging duration might influence collective foraging dynamics, while maintaining functional robustness to perturbations. Our analysis indicates that the model can undergo a forward (transcritical) bifurcation or a backward bifurcation depending on colony-specific parameters. In the former case, foraging activity persists when the average number of recruits per successful returning forager is larger than one. In the latter case, the backward bifurcation creates a region of bistability in which the size and fate of foraging activity depends on the distribution of the foraging workforce among the model׳s compartments. We validate the model with experimental data from harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) and perform sensitivity analysis. Our model provides insights on how simple, local interactions can achieve an emergent and robust regulatory system of collective foraging activity in ant colonies.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2015-02-21

129556-Thumbnail Image.png

A Preliminary Analysis of Dental Microwear as a Proxy for Diet and Habitat in Shrews

Description

Dental microwear has been shown to reflect diet in a broad variety of fossil mammals. Recent studies have suggested that differences in microwear texture attributes between samples may also reflect environmental abrasive loads. Here, we examine dental microwear textures on

Dental microwear has been shown to reflect diet in a broad variety of fossil mammals. Recent studies have suggested that differences in microwear texture attributes between samples may also reflect environmental abrasive loads. Here, we examine dental microwear textures on the incisors of shrews, both to evaluate this idea and to expand the extant baseline to include Soricidae. Specimens were chosen to sample a broad range of environments, semi-desert to rainforest. Species examined were all largely insectivorous, but some are reported to supplement their diets with vertebrate tissues and others with plant matter. Results indicate subtle but significant differences between samples grouped by both diet independent of environment and environment independent of diet. Subtle diet differences were more evident in microwear texture variation considered by habitat (i.e., grassland). These results suggest that while environment does not swamp the diet signal in shrew incisor microwear, studies can benefit from control of habitat type.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2014-08-01

128397-Thumbnail Image.png

Seasonal Availability of Edible Underground and Aboveground Carbohydrate Resources to Human Foragers on the Cape South Coast, South Africa

Description

The coastal environments of South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region (CFR) provide some of the earliest and most abundant evidence for the emergence of cognitively modern humans. In particular, the south coast of the CFR provided a uniquely diverse resource base

The coastal environments of South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region (CFR) provide some of the earliest and most abundant evidence for the emergence of cognitively modern humans. In particular, the south coast of the CFR provided a uniquely diverse resource base for hunter-gatherers, which included marine shellfish, game, and carbohydrate-bearing plants, especially those with Underground Storage Organs (USOs). It has been hypothesized that these resources underpinned the continuity of human occupation in the region since the Middle Pleistocene. Very little research has been conducted on the foraging potential of carbohydrate resources in the CFR. This study focuses on the seasonal availability of plants with edible carbohydrates at six-weekly intervals over a two-year period in four vegetation types on South Africa’s Cape south coast. Different plant species were considered available to foragers if the edible carbohydrate was directly (i.e. above-ground edible portions) or indirectly (above-ground indications to below-ground edible portions) visible to an expert botanist familiar with this landscape. A total of 52 edible plant species were recorded across all vegetation types. Of these, 33 species were geophytes with edible USOs and 21 species had aboveground edible carbohydrates. Limestone Fynbos had the richest flora, followed by Strandveld, Renosterveld and lastly, Sand Fynbos. The availability of plant species differed across vegetation types and between survey years. The number of available USO species was highest for a six-month period from winter to early summer (Jul–Dec) across all vegetation types. Months of lowest species’ availability were in mid-summer to early autumn (Jan–Apr); the early winter (May–Jun) values were variable, being highest in Limestone Fynbos. However, even during the late summer carbohydrate “crunch,” 25 carbohydrate bearing species were visible across the four vegetation types. To establish a robust resource landscape will require additional spatial mapping of plant species abundances. Nonetheless, our results demonstrate that plant-based carbohydrate resources available to Stone Age foragers of the Cape south coast, especially USOs belonging to the Iridaceae family, are likely to have comprised a reliable and nutritious source of calories over most of the year.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2016-02-18

128055-Thumbnail Image.png

A Data-Driven Mathematical Model of CA-MRSA Transmission Among Age Groups: Evaluating the Effect of Control Interventions

Description

Community associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has become a major cause of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) in the US. We developed an age-structured compartmental model to study the spread of CA-MRSA at the population level and assess the

Community associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has become a major cause of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) in the US. We developed an age-structured compartmental model to study the spread of CA-MRSA at the population level and assess the effect of control intervention strategies. We used Monte-Carlo Markov Chain (MCMC) techniques to parameterize our model using monthly time series data on SSTIs incidence in children (≤19 years) during January 2004 -December 2006 in Maricopa County, Arizona. Our model-based forecast for the period January 2007–December 2008 also provided a good fit to data. We also carried out an uncertainty and sensitivity analysis on the control reproduction number, Rc which we estimated at 1.3 (95% CI [1.2,1.4]) based on the model fit to data. Using our calibrated model, we evaluated the effect of typical intervention strategies namely reducing the contact rate of infected individuals owing to awareness of infection and decolonization strategies targeting symptomatic infected individuals on both and the long-term disease dynamics. We also evaluated the impact of hypothetical decolonization strategies targeting asymptomatic colonized individuals. We found that strategies focused on infected individuals were not capable of achieving disease control when implemented alone or in combination. In contrast, our results suggest that decolonization strategies targeting the pediatric population colonized with CA-MRSA have the potential of achieving disease elimination.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2013-11-21

128435-Thumbnail Image.png

Chair-Based Fidgeting and Energy Expenditure

Description

Introduction: Sedentariness is associated with chronic health conditions, impaired cognitive function and obesity. Work contributes significantly to sedentariness because many work tasks necessitate sitting. Few sustained solutions exist to reverse workplace sedentariness. Here, we evaluated a chair and an under-table

Introduction: Sedentariness is associated with chronic health conditions, impaired cognitive function and obesity. Work contributes significantly to sedentariness because many work tasks necessitate sitting. Few sustained solutions exist to reverse workplace sedentariness. Here, we evaluated a chair and an under-table device that were designed to promote fidgeting while seated. Our hypothesis was that an under-table leg-fidget bar and/or a fidget-promoting chair significantly increased energy expenditure. We compared these devices with chair-based exercise and walking.

Materials and Methods: We measured energy expenditure and heart rate in 16 people while they sat and worked using a standard chair, an under-desk device that encourages leg fidgeting and a fidget-promoting chair. We compared outcomes with chair-based exercise and walking.

Results: Energy expenditure increased significantly while using either an under-table leg-fidget bar or a fidget-promoting chair, when compared to the standard office chair (standard chair, 76±31 kcal/hour; leg-fidget bar, 98±42 kcal/hour (p<0.001); fidget chair, 89±40 kcal/hour (p=0.03)). However, heart rate did not increase significantly in either case. Bouts of exercise performed while seated provided energetic and heart rate equivalency to walking at 2 mph.

Conclusions: Chairs and devices that promote fidgeting can increase energy expenditure by ∼20–30% but not increase heart rate. Dynamic sitting may be among a lexicon of options to help people move more while at work.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2016-09-01

127948-Thumbnail Image.png

Challenges in Modeling Complexity of Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Review of Dynamics of Visceral Leishmaniasis in Resource Limited Settings

Description

Neglected tropical diseases (NTD), account for a large proportion of the global disease burden, and their control faces several challenges including diminishing human and financial resources for those distressed from such diseases. Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), the second-largest parasitic killer (after

Neglected tropical diseases (NTD), account for a large proportion of the global disease burden, and their control faces several challenges including diminishing human and financial resources for those distressed from such diseases. Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), the second-largest parasitic killer (after malaria) and an NTD affects poor populations and causes considerable cost to the affected individuals. Mathematical models can serve as a critical and cost-effective tool for understanding VL dynamics, however, complex array of socio-economic factors affecting its dynamics need to be identified and appropriately incorporated within a dynamical modeling framework. This study reviews literature on vector-borne diseases and collects challenges and successes related to the modeling of transmission dynamics of VL. Possible ways of creating a comprehensive mathematical model is also discussed.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2017-09-18