Using information technology to model hand-washing behavior and to improve policies impacting elementary school absenteeism due to influenza

Galina V Miller, Purdue University


This dissertation revealed several problems on the analysis of in?uenza propagation by indicating how agent-based modeling can be employed to measure the e?ectiveness of control measures and assist in improving health policy to decrease absenteeism among elementary students. The primary question posed was as following: “What is the e?ect of hand hygiene on the possible incidence rates among school children?” After creating an agent-based model representing the in?uenza transmission dynamic, the incidence rates were calculated based on the hand-washing success rates. The statistical results from the simulation model were displayed in graphical format. Finally, the author addressed the issue of measuring validity of the model. The statistical analysis on absenteeism from ?u was performed using data on missed school days in classrooms in one of the local schools in Tippecanoe County, where students exercise hand washing with soap on a regular basis. The analysis also considered data on absenteeism among children who were not required to perform hand washing routinely. This agent-based simulation method is an innocuous and economical approach to model the propagation of respiratory diseases such as in?uenza. It enables the researcher to model individual behaviors and interaction among individuals and their environment. This feature enables the researcher to represent in?uenza transmission dynamic more realistically and to provide in-depth analysis to inquiries for epidemiologist and public health professionals.




Dietz, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Information Technology|Public health|Epidemiology

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