Mathematical modelling of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in human and animal populations

Dorigatti, Ilaria (2011) Mathematical modelling of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in human and animal populations. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


The works presented in this thesis are very different one from the other but they all deal with the mathematical modelling of emerging infectious diseases which, beyond being the leitmotiv of this thesis, is an important research area in the field of epidemiology and public health. A minor but significant part of the thesis has a theoretical flavour. This part is dedicated to the mathematical analysis of the competition model between two HIV subtypes in presence of vaccination and cross-immunity proposed by Porco and Blower (1998). We find the sharp conditions under which vaccination leads to the coexistence of the strains and using arguments from bifurcation theory, draw conclusions on the equilibria stability and find that a rather unusual behaviour of histeresis-type might emerge after repeated variations of the vaccination rate within a certain range. The most of this thesis has been inspired by real outbreaks occurred in Italy over the last 10 years and is about the modelling of the 1999-2000 H7N1 avian influenza outbreak and of the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic influenza. From an applied perspective, parameter estimation is a key part of the modelling process and in this thesis statistical inference has been performed within both a classical framework (i.e. by maximum likelihood and least square methods) and a Bayesian setting (i.e. by Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques). However, my contribution goes beyond the application of inferential techniques to specific case studies. The stochastic, spatially explicit, between-farm transmission model developed for the transmission of the H7N1 virus has indeed been used to simulate different control strategies and asses their relative effectiveness. The modelling framework presented here for the H1N1 pandemic in Italy constitutes a novel approach that can be applied to a variety of different infections detected by surveillance system in many countries. We have coupled a deterministic compartmental model with a statistical description of the reporting process and have taken into account for the presence of stochasticity in the surveillance system. We thus tackled some statistical challenging issues (such as the estimation of the fraction of H1N1 cases reporting influenza-like-illness symptoms) that had not been addressed before. Last, we apply different estimation methods usually adopted in epidemiology to real and simulated school outbreaks, in the attempt to explore the suitability of a specific individual-based model at reproducing empirically observed epidemics in specific social contexts.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Mathematics
PhD Cycle:23
Subjects:Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > MAT/05 ANALISI MATEMATICA
Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > MAT/06 PROBABILITÀ E STATISTICA MATEMATICA
Area 06 - Scienze mediche > MED/17 MALATTIE INFETTIVE
Uncontrolled Keywords:mathematical modelling, HIV, H1N1, parameter inference
Repository Staff approval on:24 Feb 2011 09:17

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