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Project II:
Infectious Disease Models for Assessing Microbial Risks and Developing Control Strategies



  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


Project Summary:

  1. Objectives: The recent increase in the concern of bioterrorism has expanded the needs of microbial risk assessment. We propose to develop a methodology that provides explicit links between the models of environmental exposure and models of the disease process, focusing on how heterogeneity will impact risk. This methodology will be used to integrate environmental and dose-response data and to aid in:
    1. early detection of outbreaks;
    2. planning for both short- and long-term control efforts, and
    3. setting research agendas.

    To this end, we propose the following three specific aims:

    1. To develop appropriate transmission models that are dynamic and provide spatially explicit details of infection spread through populations;
    2. To use existing data sets to identify parameters of interest including secondary transmission rates, contact patterns, and dose response functions; and
    3. To use the models developed in the previous objectives to analyze different outbreak scenarios associated with local contamination, to examine the efficacy of local control actions at different environmental points or within different population groups, and to develop and evaluate sampling and analysis methods that can be used under the emergency conditions of a bioterrorist related outbreak, as a guide for resource allocation.
  2. Approach: In Aim 1 we will construct models of transmission through water and through droplet spread involving direct contact, fomites, and surfaces at environmental sites. These models will include descriptions of the pathogen fate and transport processes within the environment. We also plan to develop approaches for identifying values for parameters used in a given model. In Aim 2, therefore, we plan to first create a database of information important to parameterizing and identifying models, and second to examine a variety of statistical techniques that address the problems associated with highly parameterized nonlinear models. In Aim 3 we plan to develop scenario models for evaluating bioterrorist control strategies, analyze strategies that can be used in emergency situations, and propose ways to use environmental measurements to guide control actions.


Expected Results or Benefits:

This research will contribute essential elements to control of a bioterrorist disease outbreak related to infections and contribute the essential tools for analyzing bioterrorist emergency situations involving transmissible agents