Computergest├╝tzte Epidemiologie
Mathematische Modellierung
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Eu project MODELREL on emerging infectious diseases

Simulation program for outbreak investigation and intervention planning (BMGS Project)

Sponsored by the German Ministry of Health (BMGS), we developed an individual-based simulation program with which we study the spread of emerging infectious diseases for the Robert Koch Institut (RKI). This program allows to study the spread of emerging infectious diseases and to evaluate the combination of various intervention strategies.

Short description of the simulation program:

  • Individual-based program where close and remote contacts with other people are represented by two separate layers of contact networks. The program allows to choose among: scale-free network, random network, local network and mixtures of these.
  • Individuals have several layers of properties: infection state, symptom state and observation state. Infection transmission is mainly driven by the infection state, but can be influenced by the observation state (interventions). Interventions are anchored in the individual's symptom state and mainly affect their observation state (e.g. isolation).
  • Currently considered interventions include contact tracing and the isolation of cases, quarantine of groups or individuals, vaccination of contacts (post-exposure vaccination), quarantine groups and of the total population.


The aim of this project is the establishment of a robust/consensual/co-ordinated EU capability in modelling to help counter deliberate releases of biological agents, and potential larger impact natural epidemics (e.g. pandemic influenza), by informing public health policy and planning ahead of time and by providing the basis for a real time modelling capability.
The project has started in 2004 and will end in 2007.

The described MODELREL programme is complemented by the INFTRANS project which focuses on longer-term, more research-oriented issues.