Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Role of uncertainty in infectious disease modelling

Date:
October 21, 2013
Source:
University of Liverpool
Summary:
Research by scientists has found that greater consideration of the limitations and uncertainties present in every infectious disease model would improve its usefulness and value.

Research by scientists at the University of Liverpool has found that greater consideration of the limitations and uncertainties in infectious disease modelling would improve its usefulness and value.

Infectious disease dynamical modelling plays a central role in planning for outbreaks of human and livestock diseases. They forecast how they might progress and inform policy responses.

Informing policy decisions

Modelling is commissioned by governments or may be developed independently by researchers. It has been used to inform policy decisions for human and animal diseases such as SARS, H1N1 swine influenza, foot-and-mouth disease and is being used to inform action in the campaign to control bovine TB.

In a study published in PLOS One, researchers analysed scientific papers, interviews, policies, reports and outcomes of previous infectious disease outbreaks in the UK to ascertain the role uncertainties played in previous models, and how these were understood by both the designers of the model and the users of the model.

They found that many models provided only cursory reference to the uncertainties of the information and data or the parameters used. Whilst the models were uncertain many still informed action.

Dr Rob Christley, from the University's Institute of Infection and Global Health, said: "It is accepted that models will neverbe able to predict 100% the size, shape or form of an outbreak and it is recognised that a level of uncertainty always exists in modelling. However, modellers often fear detailed discussion of this uncertainty will undermine the model in the eyes of policy makers.

"This study found that the uncertainties and limitations of a model are sometimes hidden and sometimes revealed, and that which occurs is context dependent.

"Whilst it isn't possible to calculate the level of uncertainty, a better understanding and communication of the model's limitations is needed and could lead to better policy."

Uncertainty

Uncertainty can occur at all stages of the modelling process from weaknesses in the quality and type of data used, assumptions made about the infectious agent itself, and about the world in which the disease is circulating, all the way through to the technical aspects of the model.

The research team comprised veterinary scientists and epidemiologists, sociologists, microbiologists and environmental scientists.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert M. Christley, Maggie Mort, Brian Wynne, Jonathan M. Wastling, A. Louise Heathwaite, Roger Pickup, Zoë Austin, Sophia M. Latham. “Wrong, but Useful”: Negotiating Uncertainty in Infectious Disease Modelling. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (10): e76277 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076277

Cite This Page:

University of Liverpool. "Role of uncertainty in infectious disease modelling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131021095201.htm>.
University of Liverpool. (2013, October 21). Role of uncertainty in infectious disease modelling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131021095201.htm
University of Liverpool. "Role of uncertainty in infectious disease modelling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131021095201.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins