Ecological Epidemiology


The project group Ecological Epidemiology (EcoEpi) assembles ecological models that support decision making for public health and food safety concerns. Their special approach is to consider simultaneously the feasibility in the field, the economic consequences and the public health aspect (management-oriented disease modelling – MoDiM). Hence practically and politically compatible solutions are in the focus.

The simulation models provide test-beds for contingency planning and control optimisation. This is possible via the linkage of detailed expert knowledge to the host population or landscape level whereat disease management and control policies are targeted.

EcoEpi modelling studies investigate large-scale epidemic spread based on the ecological fate of individual organism. The scenario-based evaluation of computer simulations provides mechanistic understanding of how host ecology (habitat use, dispersal behaviour, contact structure, reproduction) interacts with the disease transmission (infectivity, time scale) and human intervention effort (scheduling, intensity, approach).

The projects result in risk assessments, improved decision making, evaluation of management options and policy support. National, EU and WHO guidelines of health management programmes are reflecting insights gained from our modelling. The variety of projects paves the way to substantial contributions to the basic ecology of infectious diseases and their control as well as the development of adapted modelling techniques.

We have developed a generic framework to implement expert-system models for various infections resulting in tailor-made user applications or sophisticated research tools. We are keen to collaborate with interested users in the field of Animal Health. Particular initiatives address the real-time application of computer simulations in the case of epidemic emergency situation.