New Model Might Avert Panic over Disease Outbreaks
Sometimes the response to the outbreak of a disease can make things worse — such as when people panic and flee, potentially spreading the disease to new areas. The ability to anticipate when such overreactions might occur could help public health officials take steps to limit the dangers. A new computer model developed by researchers including Professor Marta Gonzalez, and published in the journal Royal Society Interface, could make such forecasts based on data collected from hospitals, social media, and other sources. While media coverage can sometimes help to spread panic during an outbreak, the right kind of information can potentially have the opposite effect, Gonzalez says. Read the MIT News story.