Online Program

Model of the evolution of a waterborne epidemic down a river system

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Steven Chapra, Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA
David M. Gute, PhD, MPH, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA
Daniele Lantagne, Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Tufts University, Medford, MA
Graham McBride, Ph.D., National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research, Hamilton, New Zealand
An urban epidemic model is coupled with a transport and fate model in order to simulate the evolution of a waterborne disease down a river system. Rivers are ideal conduits for the transmission of waterborne pathogens. Controlling the progression of epidemics along such systems involves understanding and predicting the transport and fate of pathogens through both (1) the water distribution infrastructure ( pumps, wells, pipes, sewers, etc.) (2) environmental sinks (rivers, groundwater, etc.) and (3) the human population. Although models are available to simulate how diseases and organisms move through and evolve within each system, little work has been done to merge these perspectives into a single unified framework. In the present study, we develop such a framework to simulate the progression of an epidemic down an urbanized river system. The framework consists of two coupled models: (1) a river model simulating pathogen transport and fate, and (2) an urban epidemic model. A simulation of the progression of a cholera outbreak in Haiti is provided as an example of the model's utility for both simulation and decision support.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Formulate model to simulate epidemic propogation along river Evaluate impact of urban development on waterborne epidemics

Keyword(s): Water Quality, Disease Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 40 years experience in water quality modeling and the studey of waterborne diseases.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.