Possible enhancements of the library for modelling epidemics

This is a list of ideas that came out of a meeting between Nim and Ken on 21 July 2009.

  1. Seasonality. E.g. The flu season in the Northern Hemisphere is October to February. Also school and university terms and holidays could be modelled.
  2. Geography. Influences movement and contacts. Could use KML for Google Earth and other mapping services.
  3. Travel. Could model public transport, etc.
  4. Schools, work places, and households. Contacts within.
  5. Commuting to school and work.
  6. Age dependent differences in mixing and susceptibility.
  7. Mild or asymptomatic but still contagious infections. (Note that input data will typically miss these.)
  8. Could have each student model a community and then implement travel between them
  9. More interventions (e.g. school closing - when and for how long if at all)
  10. Replacement of one flu virus for another
  11. Risk of drug resistance depending upon how anti-viral drugs are administered
  12. Viruses becoming a new strain within a host
  13. Impacts on the economy (e.g. workers unable to work because infected or school closed or …)
  14. Modelling of sub-communities. E.g. At Oxford the colleges and departments
  15. Explicitly represent and visualise uncertainty (e.g. about the value of parameters)

Met again with Nim on 29 October 2009.

Talked about simpler version of his emergence model with 2 stages rather than 3 and something like a 1/4th probability for each change.

Could also model multiple virus infections and gene shuffling.

Rather than tag people as susceptible, infected, etc. they could have a possibly empty list of viruses that are infecting them. Viruses can be agents as well. Simplest to model exponential distribution for recovery — though there are ways to get a more realistic distribution.

In addition to building games where the player is a public health decision maker we talked about games from the viruses' point of view. I plan to attend this talk on this at the Royal Society: http://newsletters.royalsociety.org/c/1pVmRr4rp29N2FF

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