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Military populations have unique characteristics which affect the manner in which they are modeled. The main differences, for purposes of infectious disease modeling, between military populations and the general populace are in terms of age distribution, internal population structure and hierarchy, health care and protection, and level of exposure to infectious diseases.

Military populations live and work in conditions which directly affect the spread of infectious disease, and are at greater risk of exposure to a wide variety of diseases on a regular basis than the civilian population as a whole. American Warfighters are regularly deployed to conflict and disaster-response regions throughout the world, where security and public health are often at-risk. Additionally, military housing conditions involve close quarters and common areas in which high rates of mixing can occur. A single case of infectious disease in these conditions can spread rapidly, infecting and disabling large numbers of soldiers, overburdening medical capabilities and severely compromising mission objectives.

Mathematical models of disease transmission and public health interventions are extremely useful in examining the impact of vaccines on morbidity and mortality, and are frequently used to inform intervention policy in attempts to control transmission. Within military populations, these models can also be used to evaluate the impact on troop and mission readiness, particularly as they allow for the incorporation of highly detailed data on the characteristics unique to service members.

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Herd Immunity and Deployed Military Populations
Deployed service members are at risk for the transmission of infectious diseases, causing operational disruptions, stressed medical resources and economic loss. However, herd immunity resulting from vaccination and/or prior seropositivity can protect these populations against outbreaks or sustained transmission. For this project, MathEcology developed for the US Department of Defense a suite of mathematical models to identify immunity thresholds which prevent outbreaks.

These models incorporate detailed structure representing the hierarchical subdivisions within deployed populations, as well as varying levels of interaction with local populations and consumption of local food and water, depending on the duties of individual service members. The information generated by these validated models can be employed to help guide preventative medicine policy, resulting in healthier and protected populations, and more effective deployed operations.

For more about this and other military-specific projects performed by MathEcology, please CONTACT US >>
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