Dr Stephen Catterall

I am a mathematician working on simulation models for disease transmission and related processes such as contact tracing. In Topic 2 I am investigating the consequences of uncertainties in individual animal movement histories. Often only a partial record of between-holding animal movements exists, for example in the case of sheep moving with EID (electronic identification). Any gaps in the movement record for an individual may have consequences in the event of a disease outbreak, potentially affecting traceability within the animal movement network. I am simulating contact tracing of individual animals under different data collection and management policies, taking into account the uncertainties arising from incomplete information. This approach enables an assessment of the traceability of Scottish livestock under different scenarios and can potentially inform Scottish Government policy. In Topic 4 I am using simulation-based techniques to assess the impact of model mis-specification on outbreak risk assessment. During the early stages of a disease outbreak, it may be necessary to make assumptions, based on very limited data, about the way that a disease spreads in order to develop a useful model for disease transmission. Simulation is being used to explore the consequences of making incorrect modelling  assumptions at this stage. For example, the predicted size or extent of the outbreak may turn out to be inaccurate. The conclusions from this work will help to inform future disease  modelling efforts and possibly also future data collection priorities.

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