10 Prominent Influenza Pandemic Models, by Claude Penland
Death, Disease and Economic Loss Modeling in the 21st Century
(read more at http://www.claudepenland.com/2011/02/09/10-prominent-influenza-pandemic-models-
This article will discuss some different types of influenza pandemic models. It is not intended to be a
comprehensive look at the state of pandemic modeling, and instead is merely a discussion of some
interesting flu pandemic models.
What is a pandemic? Pandemics are infectious disease epidemics that spread across a wide region.
Recent pandemics include the flu pandemic of 2009 and the HIV pandemic. Historical pandemics have
also included outbreaks of tuberculosis and smallpox.
The Society of Actuaries model evaluates the potential impact on the United States life insurance
industry. Actuarial analysis looks at possible economic effects as well as potential excess insured
Military Medicine looks at a policy model for military public health officials. This Pandemic Influenza
Policy Model (PIPM) is a collaborative computer modeling effort between the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory and U.S. Department of Defense. Incidentally, the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security’s “Best Practices and Model Protocols” provides many interesting
discussions of model inputs.
The model by a catastrophe risk modeling firm, Risk Management Solutions (RMS), supplies
thousands of unique pandemic scenarios. These vary based on demographics, virus infectiousness,
vaccine production and efficacy, lethality of virus and pandemic lifecycle. Additional information is
available at “Managing Influenza Pandemic Risk”.
FluTE is an open source model. The model is calibrated so that outcomes are consistent with the 2009
pandemic A(H1N1) and 1957/1958 Asian A(H2N2) influenza viruses.
Milliman, a consulting actuary, has modeled pandemics so that they may price mortality catastrophe
bonds. It is an actuarial model based on a frequency and severity approach.
The National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), which is at the Los Alamos
National Laboratory, has the Epidemic Simulation System (EpiSimS). EpiSimS models the U.S. as
fifteen regions. Each region is composed of around 20 million synthetic individuals.
At the INFORMS Simulation Society Winter Conference of 2009, a paper was presented on a
simulation model for pandemic preparedness planning. The paper presents a geospatial and temporal
disease spread model for flu pandemics with particular attention paid to school closings.
The Global Epidemic Model (GEM) enables testing of intervention strategies. It uses uses population
data and airline travel data to create an air travel network among the major metropolitan areas of the
world. It then models the course of the potential epidemic as it spreads around the world.
VirSim was developed to help support policy making. Governments can decide on intervention
strategies, and lost work and hospitalization effects on society are documented.
The University of South Florida’s model performs simulations for development of mitigation strategies.
Some other models include Georgia Tech’s, The University of Western Australia’s, a Biological Model
for Influenza Transmission, a model of Japan and an Avian-human influenza epidemic model.
Additional sources are PandemicSimulation.com, a pandemic simulation community website, NPR,
The Scientist and MAA.