Putting a Halt to the Spread of Infections

Putting a Halt to the Spread of Infections


Alessia Melegaro (Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management) became aware of the need to include realistic demographic processes in epidemiological models in the middle of a presentation at the World Health Organization. “In past years” she says “the spread of infectious diseases has been studied through simulation models based on simplified and atemporal demographic assumptions”. As a result, predictions become unreliable and public health measures ineffective.
The impact of Demographic Changes on Infectious DisEases transmission and control in middle/low income countries (DECIDE), hosted by Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy and awarded with an ERC Starting Grant, aims to harmonize demographic and health survey data to develop new estimates of social contact patterns. “We want to see how demographic changes have affected and will affect the patterns of infectious disease. Demographic change has an impact on the contacts between people and thus on the spread of the disease”.
Field studies are an important strand of the project. Data about people’s day-to-day social contacts have been gathered in Kenya and Zimbabwe. These two studies involved approximately 3000 individuals. “We asked them to complete diaries of the contacts they had had and of their daily routines. These data allow us to significantly improve our simulation models and our projections of the impact of health policies such as vaccination policy. It’s only by taking into account the community structure that you can figure out the chain of infection and identify an appropriate vaccine target population”.

Read here the other articles on the ERC research projects:
The Dream Team of Research made in..ERC
University at the Time of Star Wars
The Culture That Influences Demography
For a History of Inequality in Europe
Fostering Solidarity in Times of Migrations
A Theory of Games and Emotions
Why with Broadband We will have More Children
How to Communicate Climate Science
At the Birth of Maritime Insurance
Even Distorted Choices can be Rational
The Psychology of Economic Behavior
Great Expectations for Great Objectives
What we are Certain about Uncertainty
Wellbeing and Fertility, a Two-Way Relationship
The Role of Financial Imperfections
The World Through the Lens of Power
The Selection of the Political Class
How to Evaluate Innovative Ideas
A Help for Those who make Predictions
When a Government is Guided by Values


by Claudio Todesco


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