2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

It's Not Just the Heat, It's the Humidity: Moderating Pandemic Flu by Environmental Control
Augustus L. Caine* and Phuong Nguyen
Dr. Kenneth Carter and Mr. Clayton Dillavou, Faculty Mentors

The threat of a pandemic of a new variety of lethal flu remains, though media hype has all but vanished. Deferral and reduction of the epidemic surge could save lives. Until recently it appeared that social distancing would be the only widely available strategy pending development of a specific vaccine. However, in October 2007 Anice C. Lowen, et al. published experimental evidence that aerosol transmission in guinea pigs depends on relative humidity and temperature. Extrapolating to humans, they suggest that "Influenza virus transmission indoors could potentially be curtailed by simply maintaining room air at warm temperatures (>20 C) and either intermediate (50%) or high (80%) RHs." Applying differential equation based epidemiological compartment models, with parameters based on both measured and hypothetically ameliorated indoor conditions, we examine the extent to which environmental control might augment, or replace, social distancing measures such as school closures in a Midwestern university town of 17,000.

Keywords: Influenza, modeling, humidity


Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 9-
Location: OP Lobby

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