Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spread rapidly in 2002-2003, revealing just how vulnerable we might be to emerging diseases and how global transportation is critical to the spread of an epidemic.
Now, Vittoria Colizza and Alessandro Vespignani of Indiana University, Bloomington, USA and the Institute for Scientific Interchange Foundation, in Turin, Italy, and colleagues in France have developed a predictive model of the spread of emerging diseases based on actual travel and census data for more than three thousand urban areas in 220 countries. The model provides predictions of how likely an outbreak will be in each region and how widespread it might become. The research highlights just how the accuracy in predicting the spreading pattern of an epidemic can be related to clearly identifiable routes by which the disease could spread.
In order to assess the predictive power of their model, the researchers turned to the historical records of the global spread of the SARS virus. They evaluated the initial conditions before the disease had spread widely, based on the data for the arrival of the first patient who left mainland China for Hong Kong, and for the resulting outbreak there. They then simulated the likelihood that SARS would emerge in specific countries thereafter, as brought by infectious travelers. The simulated results fit very accurately with the actual pattern of the spread of SARS in 2002. Analysis of the results also identified possible paths of the virus' spread along the routes of commercial air travel, highlighting some preferred channels which may serve as epidemic pathways for the global spread of the disease.
"The presented computational approach shows that the integration of long-range mobility and demographic data provides epidemic models with a predictive power that can be consistently tested," the researchers explain. "This computational strategy can be therefore considered as a general tool in the analysis and forecast of the global spreading of emerging diseases."
BMC Medicine publishes original research articles, technical advances and study protocols in any area of medical science or clinical practice. BMC Medicine (ISSN 1741-7015) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, Scopus, CAS, Google Scholar and Thomson Scientific (ISI).
BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com) is a UK-based, independent online publishing house committed to providing open access to peer-reviewed biological and medical research. This commitment is based on the view that immediate free access to research and the ability to freely archive and reuse published information is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.
BioMed Central currently publishes over 180 journals across biology and medicine. In addition to open-access original research, BioMed Central also publishes reviews, commentaries and other non-original-research content. Depending on the policies of the individual journal, this content may be open access or provided only to subscribers.
Charlotte Webber | alfa
Genetic differences between strains of Epstein-Barr virus can alter its activity
18.07.2019 | University of Sussex
Machine learning platform guides pancreatic cyst management in patients
18.07.2019 | American Association for the Advancement of Science
Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.
In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...
Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.
Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".
The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences