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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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

  • Author(s): Laber, Eric B.
  • Meyer, Nick J.
  • Reich, Brian J.
  • Pacifici, Krishna
  • Collazo, Jaime A.
  • Drake, John M.
  • et al.

A key component in controlling the spread of an epidemic is deciding where, whenand to whom to apply an intervention.We develop a framework for using data to informthese decisionsin realtime.We formalize a treatment allocation strategy as a sequence of functions, oneper treatment period, that map up-to-date information on the spread of an infectious diseaseto a subset of locations where treatment should be allocated. An optimal allocation strategyoptimizes some cumulative outcome, e.g. the number of uninfected locations, the geographicfootprint of the disease or the cost of the epidemic. Estimation of an optimal allocation strategyfor an emerging infectious disease is challenging because spatial proximity induces interferencebetween locations, the number of possible allocations is exponential in the number oflocations, and because disease dynamics and intervention effectiveness are unknown at outbreak.We derive a Bayesian on-line estimator of the optimal allocation strategy that combinessimulation–optimization with Thompson sampling.The estimator proposed performs favourablyin simulation experiments. This work is motivated by and illustrated using data on the spread ofwhite nose syndrome, which is a highly fatal infectious disease devastating bat populations inNorth America.

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