Friday October 18, 2019

Maths Could Help Understand The Spread of Infectious Diseases

Fear of public pathogens may end up driving the wrong type of behaviour if the public's information is incorrect.

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Maths can help reveal how human behaviour spreads infectious diseases
Maths can help reveal how human behaviour spreads infectious diseases. Flickr

Researchers have found that maths could help public health workers understand how human behaviour influences the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Current models used to predict the emergence and evolution of pathogens within host populations did not include social behaviour.

But adding dynamic social interactions to the new model could allow scientists to better prevent undesirable outcomes, such as more dangerous mutant strains from evolving and spreading.

“We tend to treat disease systems in isolation from social systems, and we often don’t think about how they connect to each other or influence each other,” said Chris Bauch, Professor at Waterloo University in Canada.

Injection and medicines
he team used computer simulations to analyse how the mathematical model behaved under various possible scenarios. Pixabay

“This gives us a better appreciation of how social reactions to infectious diseases can influence which strains become prominent in the population,” Bauch added.

In the study, published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, the team used computer simulations to analyse how the mathematical model behaved under various possible scenarios.

They observed that human behaviour often changes dramatically during the outbreak, for instance, they might start using face masks.

Also Read: Cholera Infection May be on Edge in Yemen, Says WHO

Also, fear of public pathogens may end up driving the wrong type of behaviour if the public’s information is incorrect.

The new modelling could help public responses navigate and better channel these kinds of population responses, the researchers said. (IANS)

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US: Infections from Three Sexually Transmitted Diseases Hit New Highs for Fifth Consecutive Year

The infection rate rose 3 percent from 2017

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US, Infections, Sexually
FILE - A billboard above a gas station, April 1, 2016, promotes testing for sexually transmitted diseases. VOA

U.S. infections from three sexually transmitted diseases have risen for the fifth consecutive year. US.

More than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia (kluh-MID’-ee-uh) were reported last year. The infection rate rose 3 percent from 2017.

It’s the most ever reported in a year, though the trend is mainly attributed to increased testing.

About 580,000 gonorrhea (gah-nuh-REE’-uh) cases were reported. That’s the highest number since 1991. The rate rose 5 percent. Scientists worry antibiotic resistance may be a factor.

US, Infections, Sexually
More than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia (kluh-MID’-ee-uh) were reported last year. Pixabay

And the syphilis rate rose 15 percent. About 35,000 cases of the most contagious forms of the disease were reported — also the most since 1991.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the numbers Tuesday.

Also Read- Dogs can Perform Many Tricks for their Owners, but Best One might be Extending their Life

The increases coincided with public health funding cuts and clinic closures. (VOA)