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News Picks : Computer model simulates spread of Ebola virus

By: Physics Today
15 August 2014

NPR: As the most severe Ebola epidemic ever unfolds in West Africa, some researchers are studying it through the use of computer simulations. The goal is to see how the outbreak might spread and which public health measures could prove most effective in containing it. The effort is complicated by a number of factors, including the uncertainty in the total number of dead and infected people, how many infected people stay at home rather than go to hospitals, and how burial practices can spread the infection. Although the situation is too complex for computer models to come up with definitive answers on how many people will ultimately die and exactly when the epidemic will end, they do underscore the need to act quickly before the Ebola outbreak becomes too large to contain.


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