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Applications of Network epidemics: Ebola

2014 marked the start of the most recent Ebola outbreak in Africa. This article describes how the world should react in response to the world’s next outbreak like Ebola. It evaluates how to snuff out an outbreak through many different media. One of the media described is through early detection. What went wrong in the previous Ebola outbreak was that only 64 of the 194 member states of the World Health Organization had the “surveillance procedures, laboratories and data-management capabilities required by the International Health Regulations.” Due to this mishap, early detection was not a feasible option, due to a lack of coordination between the member states.

 

In the context of the network effects of epidemics, the manner of breaking up the spread of this epidemic would be through snuffing out the beginning nodes at the top of the disease tree. To put this in a diagram, this would be  equivalent to stopping the nodes of the upper half of this disease tree. In order to stop the spread of disease, it would be easiest to stop its spread by stopping nodes closer to the top, such as 10, 6, 9, and 14. In addition, a way to decrease the p parameter of pk=Ro, would be through announcing its spread early on. Through a worldwide announcement and widespread access to the information of the epidemic, people would be more inclined to stay away from its spread. Through a more conscientious society, people will be more averse to contact with other people, thus decreasing the spread of the Ebola epidemic.

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