Scientists recently used a simulation model to demonstrate the true effects of various infectious disease in an area, with the pandemic swine flu and its minor effects on Finland.
The purpose of the simulation is to show that underreporting a disease can change the surveillance of a disease, making researchers miss most of the infections within a given population.
The study, available in PLOS Computational Biology, received funding from the National Institute for Health and Welfare. It is important to health officials that they can predict or estimate how much an infectious disease affects a region.
The study results provide a new platform to help researchers determine how severe the flu seasons may be at certain levels of the health care system. Until now, the number of people who have contracted the illnesses has not been confirmed.
The scientists have created a low-scale simulation model in Finland as a demonstration of how the disease spreads in the area. The model shows how the disease transmits through a population. It also shows how the vaccine can help counteract the disease, how the severity varies for different areas, and how detecting the influenza is not yet a perfect system.
In Finland, there were minor effects from the swine flu, with less than 10 percent of the population contracting infections. The flu was in the area from 2009 to 2011, in different seasons.