Agent-based simulation of disease spread aboard ship
Gutierrez, Louis Michael
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Extreme examples like the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 make clear the devastating impact that communicable diseases can have on military readiness. It is highly desirable to have models and tools that can be used to evaluate the course of a disease over time. These tools can help assess the effectiveness of strategies employed to contain the outbreak such as constraining movement, wearing protective gloves or masks, closing high traffic areas, etc. Armed with these tools, a medical practitioner can better assess the right course of action in a time critical situation. The primary difficulty with creating models and simulations for this purpose is that disease spread depends upon the details of human behavior and environmental variables which are not accounted for in current mathematical models. The likelihood that a particular individual will catch a given disease depends upon such specifics as where he works, whom he interacts with, where he sleeps, what he eats, his habits of personal hygiene, etc. It is hypothesized that a software disease simulation can combine agents that mimic human behavior, a ship specific environment, and disease specific attributes to more accurately model the spread of disease aboard ship than a mathematical model.
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