Outbreaks of communicable diseases in the African context are considered disasters. As such,
disaster management protocols and methodologies are applied to combat communicable diseases
and the resulting consequences. Outbreaks escalate into epidemics and the prediction of outbreaks
and epidemics is near impossible. However, it is possible to monitor outbreaks and the associated
spread patterns. The intelligence gained can be used for proactive decision making that will facilitate
the expedient execution of retrospective disaster management activities.
An interactive simulation of outbreaks and the disease transmission that will lead to epidemics
was developed. The simulation was focused on two diseases namely H1N1 (Swine-
u) and Measles
within the City of Johannesburg municipal area. Insight gleaned from this simulation would fa-
cilitate proactive decision making in the area and inform future simulation based epidemiology
Mathematical epidemiology and Agent Based Modelling (ABM) are two techniques that in
combination are expected to produce a realistic simulation. Mathematical epidemiology is the ap-
plication of mathematics and related concepts in the study of disease. Compartmental epidemiology
is a subset of mathematical epidemiology where individuals of the concerned population or location
are grouped into one of three groups. Each group or compartment has one of the following states
assigned to it and all its occupants: Susceptible, Infected and Recovered.
Measles and H1N1 both have a Susceptible Infected Recovered (SIR) compartmental infectious
disease models. When exploring the SIR model in a stochastic context, a Markov Chain is an
applicable tool to enable the modelling of inter-state transition of an individual within a popula-
tion. ABM is used to study complex systems and to convey how macro phenomena emerge from
micro level behaviour and interactions between agents in an environment. An epidemic (macro phe-
nomenon) is the consequence of many lower level individual infections and the associated disease
transmission (micro phenomena).Compartmental epidemiology is thus used to demonstrate disease
transmission while ABM will be the interface that enables simulation of the interaction of humans
within a population or environment.
Thesis (B Eng. (Industrial and Systems Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2010.