2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Interdisciplinary

New Zealand Measles Model and Vaccination Policy
Nathaniel J. Green
Dr. Kenneth Carter, Faculty Mentor

As one consequence of the continued advances in life science, governments revisit related legislation, such as vaccination policy. Modelling studies often play a significant role, yet it appears that a number of these studies are not checked for reproducibility or accuracy. We critique (and attempt to replicate) an influential study, “Modelling Measles: Predicting and Preventing Measles Epidemics in New Zealand: Application of a Mathematical Model,” (Roberts, Tobias: 1998) that led to a major change in scheduling of measles vaccination in New Zealand. Whereas the original implementation used a proprietary equation solver, we use the open source GNU Scientific Library to solve the ordinary differential equations of their age-structured model. Though the lack of reported initial conditions for four of the eight state variables in the model renders detailed verification impossible, our investigation using plausible starting values supports some of their results, while also revealing anomalies, discrepancies, and ambiguous claims.

Keywords: vaccination, modelling, life science, measles, biology, computer science, epidemiology, New Zealand

Topic(s):Interdisciplinary

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 6-3
Location: VH 1408
Time: 9:00

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