Modeling Tool Fights Flu Pandemic

Author: Emil Venere
A modeling tool developed for the Indiana State Department of Health by engineering researchers and their colleagues could help manage the spread of pandemic flu.

PanViz demonstrates how certain actions affect the availability of hospital beds and the percentage of ill people and deaths. It can also visualize the disease’s progress based on its origin and demonstrates how illnesses could be dramatically reduced with antiviral drugs and “social-distancing” measures.

“Visualizing how specific actions would help to control the spread of a flu pandemic is very valuable to public health officials,” says David Ebert, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Purdue Visualization and Analytics Center. “The idea is to help officials make decisions in terms of when to use stockpiles of antiviral drugs and when to issue media alerts for social-distancing measures such as school closures and working from home.”