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Vittoria Colizza

Facing the complexity of infectious disease spread



Monday 22nd of September



New advances in science and medicine help us gain ground against certain infectious diseases, yet new infections continue to emerge that spread rapidly into the population and may reach pandemic proportions. We face a perpetual challenge against the capacity of new pathogens to lead to emerging epidemics. And our global, mobile and interconnected world contributes with dangerous mechanisms that may potentially greatly magnify the global burden of diseases. Understanding how epidemics spread in a host population represents a crucial step for prevention and control, with broad implications on the system's functioning, population’s health, and associated costs. Mathematical and computational models that integrate epidemiological information with data on the disease-transmission paths (from transmission contacts to movement-mediated transmission) can be built to provide crucial insights into the complexities of the spreading dynamics as well as predictions for its future evolution. Focusing on a range of different infections I will discuss how models can help us facing epidemics in the phases of preparedness, outbreak emergence, and epidemic invasion, and how they can be used to advise public health policies.






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