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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Iowa Doctoral Student Developing Software to Predict Spread of Ebola Epidemic

The Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and has captured global attention as the disease continues to spread. The current outbreak is the first Ebola epidemic the world has ever known, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is currently affecting the countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

 

Iowa Doctoral Student Developing Software to Predict Spread of Ebola Epidemic

The outbreak is being studied by Mr. Grant Brown, a fourth-year graduate student from Clive, Iowa, who is seeking his doctoral degree in biostatistics from the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Working with Dr. Jacob Oleson, associate professor of biostatistics, Mr. Brown is developing open source software called libspatialSEIR to model and predict the spread of the Ebola epidemic in the region.

“This is a living document, as the Ebola epidemic is rapidly evolving,” Mr. Brown says of the project, which includes interactive maps illustrating the estimated and predicted spread of the virus over time. The document will continue to be updated as the epidemic progresses, reflecting new data and potentially additional analysis techniques.

Preliminary results include estimates of the current and future number of infectious individuals in the countries of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria; estimates of the basic reproductive number over time in each country; and interactive maps of the current new case incidence and predicted epidemic size.  Updates are released regularly at the following link: http://grantbrown.github.io/libspatialSEIR/doc/tutorials/Ebola2014/Ebola2014.html