Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases

Advances in infection disease modelling

5 January 2008, Annecy (France)

Fondation Mérieux organised a three day symposium, 10–12 December 2007, in relation to infectious diseases modelling, at Les Pensières conference centre in Annecy, France, during which different posibilities to develop mathematical models were presented.

These applications allow to increase the prediction of the unexpected arrival of diseases and the development of epidemiological strategies.

The production of mathematical models to predict the impact of infectious disease prevention, monitoring and programmes of control, and therefore to anticipate the probable outcome of the implementation of pre-designed actions plans, have developed over time. The first model, developed by Bernouli for smallpox, appeared in 1760 and today the fields of scientfic research and informatics work together on computerized models.

Many variables which play a part in the outcome of infectious disease epidemiology: the host, the pathogen, the target population, the methods of transmission, the economic and social environment… to mention a few, are collected, analysed and tailored through mathematical predictions.

Infectious disease epidemiology has some intrinsic aspects that are not applicable to all diseases, thus in many cases conventional epidemiological dynamics do not always address the requirements of infectious diseases. The developing of specific modelling methods and measurements to address these types of disease patterns have provided an outstanding and powerful tool to evaluate and interpret data for critical decision-making and programme customization to access infectious diseases.

Various public and private institutions and organizations in relation to infectious disease epidemiology have taken and continue to take advantage of these models for public health strategy-making, and for the optimization of the use of resources. The symposium has included the participation of foremost international experts on the subject, their work and findings were presented in four main sessions:

  • What is a model?

  • What is the expected public health impact of the model approach?

  • Predicting the impact of interventions

  • The future of infection diseases modelling

The programme of the symposium was intended to generate discussion among participants and to foster the dissemination of new information on this topic. The symposium has provided an opportunity for specialists in infectious disease modelling to exchange knowledge through the sharing of related research studies, innovations and applied methodologies.

The symposium, consistent with Fondation's Mérieux's mission, has contributed to the dissemination of scientific information worldwide and to the epidemiological monitoring of infectious diseases.

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