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Problem A

Abstract

The eradication of Ebola has become a central concern as the virus

quickly spreads, becoming an epidemic due to the failure of medical

staff using proper sanitation techniques and the lack of identifying a

large percentage of the people who have become infected by the disease.

Although Ebola has been around since 1976, a larger amount of attention

was brought to this epidemic in late 2014 when cases of Ebola were

confirmed outside of Africa. On average, 50% of the individuals that are

infected with Ebola do not survive the disease. Because of this, the major

effort of the eradication process is to help the infected survive the epidemic

and gain immunity towards Ebola.

If a medication was invented that had the potential to cure the infected

whose disease had not advanced to a critical state, the next step towards

eradication would be to find a model that predicts the future outcome

of the population as it is affected by Ebola, both with and without the

medication. After the population is predicted, it will need to be decided

how much medication will need to be produced and the most efficient route

to distribute the medication.

To determine the amount of the medication that will be needed to

be manufactured, we built a model formed from a system of equations

that will determine not only the number of infected individuals but also

the amount of individuals that have recovered and have gained immunity

and the individuals that remain susceptible to the disease. Through the

determination of the number of infected individuals, we can ascertain the

amount of medication that will need to be produced.

Along with this model, we proposed a strategy for distribution that

allows doctors to get to and from each distribution center in the swiftest way

possible. This employs Dijkstras algorithm on a variation of the Traveling

Salesman Problem. We recognized that disease spreads like wildfire in the

most recently infected areas and large population centers. The distribution

model takes this into account and allows a quick distribution of vaccine to

where it is most needed.

We believe with this model that Ebola can finally be eradicated. This

model provides a surplus of medication in the event that the disease spreads

faster than the rate of manufacture. Coupled with this, the model also

provide the fastest, most efficient way to distribute the medication.

CONTENTS

CONTENTS

Contents

1 Introduction

2 The

2.1

2.2

2.3

3

3

4

6

Model

Modeling the Spread of Ebola . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Determining Geographic Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Strengths and Weaknesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Non-Technical Letter

References

THE MODEL

Introduction

this disease has been around since 1976, this was the first case of Ebola appearing

outside of Africa.[4][5] Because a total of four cases were confirmed in the United

States, new efforts to eradicate Ebola have been initiated.[6] Since it is harder

to contract Ebola, such few cases would not be enough cause to warrant a

declaration of a global threat.[6][7] The reasoning for this declaration was not

found in the speed with which the disease is spread but in the way the disease

attacks its host.

Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a virus that is

spread through direct contact of another persons bodily fluids.[8] After a person

has become infected by the virus, flu-like symptoms will occur.[4] In more

advanced cases, the infected person will begin to bleed both internally and

externally.[4] Because this virus prevents the immune system from attacking it,

the mortality rate for those who have become infected with this virus is 50%.[9]

Due to the high death rate and the volatile process of death, this disease has

been classified as a global threat.[6]

In light of this recent occurrence, we, as mathematicians, have built models

that represent the population as it is affected by the Ebola virus. These models

also take into account the trend of the virus if proper sanitation and epidemic

procedures are properly utilized and if the detection of individuals who have been

infected by the virus are hospitalized quickly. In the event that a medication is

invented to cure the infected, so long as the virus has not become too advanced,

a secondary model was implemented to insure the quickest, most cost efficient

way to distribute the medication.

The Model

2.1

Let . . .

N be the total population

S(t) be the number of healthy, unvaccinated people at time t

I(t) be the number of infected people at time t

D(t) be the number of people who have died at time t

V (t) be the total number of vaccines prepared at time t

R(t) be the number of people who have recovered or been vaccinated at

time t

2.2

THE MODEL

be the shipping constant. Should be adjusted to make sin(t) produce a

period equal to the shipment frequency

A be the number of people initially infected

B be the rate at which the disease spreads (should be greater than 1)

is the mean time from infection until death

t is time in days

S(t) works off of all of the other equations. It is simply the number of people

who do not belong to any of the other groups. To account for the development

and deployment of the vaccine, a V (t ) term was added where V (t) is the

number of vaccines available and is the delay caused by the shipment of the

vaccines.

I(t) is the number of people who are infected. Infection occurs when two

people come into contact with each other. This was assumed to be an exponential

growth dependent upon the number of people who were initially infected. Thus

the term ABt . However, this exponential growth could not exceed the total

number of people. So the function was capped by use of the Heaviside function

translated by the term ln(SA)

, which is the point at which the exponential

B

growth of infected individuals meets the number of uninfected people. I(t) is also

two terms to account for the eventual outcome of the infection: D(t) and R(t).

To account for the development and deployment of the vaccine, a (V (t ))

term was added where V (t) is the number of vaccines available and is the

delay caused by the shipment of the vaccines.

D(t) is the total number of people claimed by the disease. This is the same

function as I(t), except the time component is translated by , the mean time

from infection till death. The function I(t) is also multiplied by K, which is the

rate at which the disease kills

R(t) is the total number of people that have recovered from the disease. These

people are now considered immune because they have developed the antibodies

to resist future infection (provided that there is no extreme mutation by the

Ebola virus). This term is identical to D(t) except it is multiplied by (1 K),

resulting in D(t) and R(t) equaling I(t) (for some past time t ).

V (t) is the function that represents the manufacturing of the vaccine. The

1.5 represents a constant (we made the assumption that doctors would want

to produce 1.5 times the number of vaccines when compared to the number of

patients). The dirac-delta function is representative of the shipping (the number

of vaccines produced at that point will ship). The integration from 0 to t is

representative of the total number of vaccines produced.

2.2

For determining geographic locations of where to deploy the cure for Ebola, we

decided to target concentrated population centers. The model demonstrates

4

2.2

THE MODEL

that diseases proliferate at large population centers and then tend to spread

towards other heavily populated areas. Afterwards, it eventually disperses into

the rural areas. This requires distributors to visit each large population center

in the most efficient way possible that saves on cost and on time. This leads us

to our example of Figure 1.

Figure 1: Graph of areas in Africa with recent Ebola cases

Conakry

Forecariah

Kono

Western Rural

Port Loko

Freetown

Kenema

Lola

Bomi

Monrovia

These are provinces/cities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea that have had

a high amount of new Ebola cases during the week of January 26th to February

1st, 2015 [1] [3] [2]. The reason we chose only recent cases is because those cases

are ones that might still have a chance of being cured as a result of not having

an advanced version of the disease. The way we get through each city efficiently

is to view it as a variation on the Traveling Salesman Problem. That is, visit

every Ebola-stricken area once but do not carry the restriction that forces us to

return to our original location. We developed an algorithm to accomplish this,

which gave us Figure 2.

We took into account distances between each location on a physical map

using Google Maps and found the shortest path that hits all locations. Using

this idea, we can apply this method of vaccine distribution to speed up the rate

of vaccination.

2.3

THE MODEL

Conakry

Forecariah

Kono

Western Rural

Port Loko

Freetown

Kenema

Lola

Bomi

Monrovia

2.3

For the most part, we believe that the model is adequate, although by no means

extraordinary. We do think that an exponential growth would represent the

infection rate in a population well as each person has a relatively consistent

exposure to others. The kill rate also seems to be fairly consistent and as such,

it makes sense that it would be a constant. There are also no recorded cases of

people contracting Ebola after having it and surviving; therefore, we created the

R(t) function.

The weakest point of this model has to do with the vaccine development.

We had a hard time coming up with a function that would approximate the

development of a vaccine. We do think that logistic growth seems reasonable and

appropriate, but the distribution of the vaccine is a bit more complex. By making

the assumption that shipments would move out in bulk at regular intervals, we

were able to use the dirac delta function. However, it was difficult to visualize

how this equation would affect the rest of the population.

NON-TECHNICAL LETTER

Non-Technical Letter

with Ebola, we have constructed models to represent the future of the population

with the addition of your medication. Although the medication will only cure

those in which the virus has not become too advanced and under the assumption

that proper sanitation and epidemic procedures are utilized, we have provided

two models to aid in the manufacturing and distribution of your breakthrough

medication.

If we were to produce exactly as much medication as there were infected,

then the virus would continue to infect those who are susceptible to the disease,

creating a shortage in the amount of medication we are able to provide. To

prevent an incident where we would have an insufficient amount of medication

for the infected, we assumed that medical professionals would want to produce a

surplus of medication and factored this into our model. In order to determine

the amount of medication we will need to produce, we will take the number of

infected and run it through our first model. This would effectively provide the

manufacturers of the medication with a figure that is 1.5 times the size of the

infected portion of the population.

After the medication has been manufactured, we look to our second model

for the quickest, most cost efficient way to distribute the medication to the

infected. In order to eradicate the disease, we considered the regions of the most

current cases and the regions in which there has been confirmed cases of Ebola.

Although there were a few confirmed cases outside of Africa, the individuals in

these cases had traveled from Africa where, it is presumed, they contracted the

disease. Because all other cases are in Africa, we decided to focus on the region

of Africa where the most cases of Ebola were found, namely Guinea, Liberia, and

Sierra Leone. Notably, a large aggregation of the cases were found around areas

that had concentrated population centers. We assumed that these cases were

the most likely to be cured, preventing further infection within these densely

populated areas. We also assumed that if these individuals were cured, they

would be immune to the disease, and of those that were not able to be cured, the

corpses of the diseased will be properly disposed of so as not to infect another

person.

If our models were to be implemented, there would be a surplus of medication to cure those who are in the early stages of the infection, and there would

be fast and cost efficient way to ship and distribute the medication. As a result

of proper sanitation procedures and the use of our models, the spread of Ebola

will be greatly reduced if not eradicated.

REFERENCES

REFERENCES

References

[1] Data Published on 04 February 2015-Data on New Cases by Epi Week

and District. Ebola Data and Statistics. N.p., 4 Feb. 2015. Web. 08 Feb.

2015. http://apps.who.int/gho/data/view.ebola-sitrep.ebola-country-GINnew-conf-prob -districs-20150204-data?lang=en

[2] Data Published on 04 February 2015-Data on New Cases by Epi

Week and District. Ebola Data and Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb.

2015. http://apps.who.int/gho/data/view.ebola-sitrep.ebola-country-LBRnew-conf-prob -districs-20150204-data?lang=en

[3] Data Published on 04 February 2015-Data on New Cases by Epi

Week and District. Ebola Data and Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb.

2015. http://apps.who.int/gho/data/view.ebola-sitrep.ebola-country-SLEnew-conf-prob -districs-20150204-data?lang=en

[4] Ebola Virus Disease. WHO. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en.

[5] Cases of Ebola Diagnosed in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Dec.

2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-westafrica/united-states-imported-case.html.

[6] The U.S. Government Response to the Ebola Outbreak. U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, 12 Nov. 2014. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.

http://www.state.gov/s/dmr/remarks/2014/233996.htm.

[7] How Quickly Ebola Spreads Compared to Other Diseases. Washington

Post. The Washington Post. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/health/how-ebolaspreads.

[8] Ebola Virus. Web. 8 Feb. 2015. https://www.bcm.edu/departments/molecularvirology-and-microbiology/emerging-i nfections-and-biodefense/ebola-virus.

[9] Chan, Amanda. What Actually Happens When A Person Is Infected With

The Ebola Virus. The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 8

Feb. 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/02/ebola-symptomsinfection-virus n 56 39456.html.

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