Biodefense Bioinformatics Blog

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Models for the control of a smallpox outbreak

A new paper by Aldis et al. derives an integral equation model for the control of a smallpox outbreak:

Aldis GK, Roberts MG. An integral equation model for the control of a smallpox outbreak. Math Biosci. 2005 May;195(1):1-22. [PubMed]


An integral equation model of a smallpox epidemic is proposed. The model structures the incidence of infection among the household, the workplace, the wider community and a health-care facility; and incorporates a finite incubation period and plausible infectivity functions. Linearisation of the model is appropriate for small epidemics, and enables analytic expressions to be derived for the basic reproduction number and the size of the epidemic. The effects of control interventions (vaccination, isolation, quarantine and public education) are explored for a smallpox epidemic following an imported case. It is found that the rapid identification and isolation of cases, the quarantine of affected households and a public education campaign to reduce contact would be capable of bringing an epidemic under control. This could be used in conjunction with the vaccination of healthcare workers and contacts. Our results suggest that prior mass vaccination would be an inefficient method of containing an outbreak.


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