The effect of abrupt events in epidemics

International research team led by Dr. A. Moustakas from University of Brunei Darussalam, including a current postdoctoral scholar at the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Modeling (Yannis Markonis), published a study in the journal of Nature Communications (doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04915-0, text here).

During the foot and mouth disease epidemic of 2001, in Great Britain, routine testing for the harmful pathogen Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) was suspended briefly. Using statistical techniques and mathematical models the researchers presented how this lapse in management can alter the epidemiological parameters, including the rate of new infections and duration of infection cycles. These results demonstrate that abrupt events can synchronise disease dynamics and that disease control strategies can have both intended and unintended effects on the dynamics of infectious diseases. The methods that were utilised in this study have a diverse range of applications in other scientific fields that involve abrupt events, such as climatology, ecology, hydrology etc.

Moustakas, A., Evans, M.R., Daliakopoulos, I.N., & Markonis, Y. 2018. Abrupt events and population synchrony in the dynamics of Bovine Tuberculosis. Nature Communications 9 (1), 2821

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