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Assessing the effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions on containing an emerging disease

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  • Non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as quarantine, isolation and entry screening, are usually the primary public health measures to control the spread of an emerging infectious disease through a human population. This paper proposes a multi-regional deterministic compartmental model to assess the effectiveness and implications of non-pharmaceutical interventions. The reproduction number is determined as the spectral radius of a nonnegative matrix product. Comparisons are made using the reproduction number, epidemic peaks and cumulative number of infections and mortality as indexes. Simulation results show that quarantine of suspected cases and isolation of cases with symptom are effective in reducing disease burden for multiple regions. Using entry screening strategy leads to a moderate time delay for epidemic peaks, but is of no help for preventing an epidemic breaking out. The study further shows that isolation strategy is always the best choice in the presence or absence of stringent hygiene precautions and should be given priority in combating an emerging epidemic.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 92B05, 92D30.

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