October 11, 2013

Scientists use modeling to track spread of new bird flu

Posted: October 11, 2013

Two Arizona State University researchers are part of a team studying the spread of a new strain of bird flu.

Mathematical epidemiologist Gerardo Chowell-Puente and statistician and mathematician Sherry Towers collaborated with researchers from the National Institutes of Health and George Washington University to compare the trajectory of the H7N7 virus with that of other pathogens, like the H5N1 and H3N2v viruses.

As reported on the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy news site, the team used a Bayesian modeling technique to examine 130 cases of H7N7 reported in China last spring.

Their findings show that transmission was low in Shanghai and the Zhejiang province and that the growth rate slowed in mid-April, following the closure of live-bird markets in Chinese cities.

As a new flu season approaches, the group hopes their modeling technique will prove useful in tracking and mitigating future outbreaks.

Chowell-Puente is an associate professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Towers is a research professor in the Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center. They have collaborated in the past to study the effects of climate change on flu seasons, social factors in the spread of flu and the seasonality of MRSA.

Article source:
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

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