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Modeling rapidly disseminating infectious disease during mass gatherings

Gerardo Chowell12*, Hiroshi Nishiura34 and Cécile Viboud2

Author affiliations

1 School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, 900 S. Cady Mall, Tempe, 85287-2402, Arizona, USA

2 Division of Epidemiology and Population Studies, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, 31 Center Dr, MSC 2220, Bethesda, 20892-2220, Maryland, USA

3 School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Cyberport Road 100, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China

4 PRESTO (Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology), Japan Science and Technology Agency, Honcho Kawaguchi 4-1-8, Saitama 332-0012, Japan

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2012, 10:159  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-159

Published: 7 December 2012


We discuss models for rapidly disseminating infectious diseases during mass gatherings (MGs), using influenza as a case study. Recent innovations in modeling and forecasting influenza transmission dynamics at local, regional, and global scales have made influenza a particularly attractive model scenario for MG. We discuss the behavioral, medical, and population factors for modeling MG disease transmission, review existing model formulations, and highlight key data and modeling gaps related to modeling MG disease transmission. We argue that the proposed improvements will help integrate infectious-disease models in MG health contingency plans in the near future, echoing modeling efforts that have helped shape influenza pandemic preparedness plans in recent years.

Model; mathematical; epidemic; outbreaks; epidemiology; mass gathering; school closure; clustering; reactive vaccination; movement; social networks/