Mathematics and epidemiology in Erice
September 17, 2015
From August 30 to September 5, the “Ettore Majorana” Centre for Scientific Culture in Erice hosted the “Mathematical and Computational Epidemiology of Infectious diseases” international conference. Aim of this event was to illustrate the major areas of research in mathematical and computational modelling of the spread of infectious diseases, and the huge variety of tools and approaches that are currently employed.
Experts from all over the world gathered to participate to an intense peer-to-peer discussion on several topics related to mathematical biology, biomedicine, epidemiology and crisis management. National and international health authorities adopt routinely methodologies and concept that were born in the field of mathematical and computational epidemiology (MCE) for assisting public health decisions and policies. A major example is provided by the huge advancement in modelling and prediction on pandemic threats, and related preparedness plans for disease containment.
One of greatest challenges in modern MCE is finding ways to take into the account new complexity layers often ignored in this field of research. A major critical issue is human mobility at various scales. Understanding human mobility is the clue for predicting pandemics travelling and defining mitigation measures. On the other hand, human behaviour and its relationship with the available information on the evolution of the epidemics, is another unsettled issue. For example, is a prevailing issue needed to model the pseudo-rational objection to vaccinations and the response to pandemic threats.
Vincenzo Capasso (University of Milan) explains how mathematics may help to optimize the response to an epidemic and reduce its impact.
Vittoria Colizza (INSERM, Paris) describes the use of mathematical models to build synthetic scenarios where is possible to recreate the spread of an infectious diseases and then test possible responses.
Alberto d’Onofrio (International Prevention Research Institute, Lyon) talks about the use of mathematical models to understand the impact of public health campaigns.
Edward Hill (University of Warwick) explains how mathematics can be used to determine the main factors behind the spread of an infectious diseases within animal populations, in order to outline strategies to prevent spillovers.
Piero Manfredi (University of Pisa) talks about risk perception and the conflict between public and individual rationality when dealing with vaccines.
Alessia Melegaro (Bocconi University, Milan) talks about using mathematics to evaluate the economic aspects related to infectious diseases outbreaks.
Alessandro Vespignani (Northeastern University, USA) explains why mathematical models must take social factors into account, in order to properly represent the evolution of the system.