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RSS Discussion Meeting: Optimal treatment allocations in space and time for on-line control of an emerging infectious disease

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RSS discussion paper meetings

Wednesday 14 March 2018, 05:00pm - 07:00pm

Location Royal Statistical Society, 12 Errol Street, London EC1Y 8LX


Eric B Laber, Nick J Meyer, Brian J Reich, Krishna Pacifici (North Carolina State University, Raleigh),
Jaime A Collazo (US Geological Survey North Carolina Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and North Carolina State University, Raleigh)
John Drake (University of Georgia, Athens)
A key component in controlling the spread of an epidemic is deciding where, when and to whom to apply an intervention. We develop a framework for using data to inform these decisions in realtime. We formalize a treatment allocation strategy as a sequence of functions, one per treatment period, that map up-to-date information on the spread of an infectious disease to a subset of locations where treatment should be allocated. An optimal allocation strategy optimizes some cumulative outcome, e.g. the number of uninfected locations, the geographic footprint of the disease or the cost of the epidemic. Estimation of an optimal allocation strategy for an emerging infectious disease is challenging because spatial proximity induces interference between locations and the number of possible allocations is exponential in the number of locations, and because disease dynamics and intervention effectiveness are unknown at outbreak.  We derive a Bayesian on-line estimator of the optimal allocation strategy that combines simulation–optimization with Thompson sampling. The estimator proposed performs favourably in simulation experiments. This work is motivated by and illustrated using data on the spread of white nose syndrome, which is a highly fatal infectious disease devastating bat populations in North America.
A preprint of the paper can be downloaded here.
This meeting will be preceded by a Discussion Meeting Overview which is designed to make the Discussion Meeting more accessible to those unfamiliar with the topics discussed in the read paper (including career-young statisticians).

Refreshments from 4.30pm

All welcome

Organiser Name Judith Shorten

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Organising Group(s) RSS Discussion Meetings Committee