Sanson RL, Morris RS, Stern MW
EpiMAN-FMD: A decision support system for managing epidemics of vesicular disease
Revue Scientifique et Technique (International Office of Epizootics)
A comprehensive epidemiological information system (EpiMAN-FMD) has been developed to assist national disease control authorities contain and eradicate outbreaks of animal diseases as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. The system was initially developed to control an incursion of foot and mouth disease (FMD) or any clinically indistinguishable vesicular disease, although it has since been progressively expanded to manage other exotic and endemic diseases. Design objectives for the information management elements of EpiMAN-FMD included the following: the need to manage the vast quantities of data that eradication procedures for an FMD epidemic would generate within a very short time the ability to innovatively apply epidemiological understanding of disease spread to the data processing tasks the reduction of some of the foreseen processing bottlenecks the provision of decision support tools for data entry personnel. Design objectives for the veterinary management elements of the system included the following: the presentation of up-to-date status reports in formats that facilitate decision-making at the national or regional level the ability to optimise manpower resource allocation the capacity to evaluate the relative merits of alternative technical decisions, each of which carry different implicit risks. The system combines a multi-user database management system, expert system elements, various computer simulation models of specific aspects of FMD epidemiology and a range of statistical analyses designed to monitor the state of the epidemic. Although designed in New Zealand, EpiMAN-FMD has been constructed in a flexible style which makes adoption of the system possible in other countries with broadly similar 'stamping-out' contingency plans.