An understanding of epidemiological dynamics, once confined to mathematical epidemiologists and applied mathematicians, can be disseminated to a non-mathematical community of health care professionals and applied biologists through simple-to-use simulation applications. We used Numerus Model Builder RAMP
We take the reader through simulations used to demonstrate the following concepts: 1) disease prevalence curves of unmitigated outbreaks have a single peak and result in epidemics that ‘burn’ through the population to become extinguished when the proportion of the susceptible population drops below a critical level; 2) if immunity in recovered individuals wanes sufficiently fast then the disease persists indefinitely as an endemic state, with possible dampening oscillations following the initial outbreak phase; 3) the steepness and initial peak of the prevalence curve are influenced by the basic reproductive value
Our presentation makes transparent the key assumptions underlying SIR epidemic models. Our RAMP simulators are meant to augment rather than replace classroom material when teaching epidemiological dynamics. They are sufficiently versatile to be used by students to address a range of research questions for term papers and even dissertations.