The answer to life, the universe and everything: it is R0 not 42
Infectious Disease research theme group, School of Public Health, The University of Queensland
The Infectious Disease research theme group would like to lead you through a brief series of stories to illustrate how a simple bit of mathematics is essential for better understanding of the often complex world of infectious disease control. In theory the reproductive number is “simple”. It is just the number of new cases of an infectious disease that arises from a single individual. It is the “weather vane” that guides public health responses to infectious diseases. Each speaker will provide a brief 3-slide story.
Dr Paynter will start by wowing the audience with his mathematical prowess, without the aid of a formula! He will attempt to impart his vast knowledge of R0 in the hope that it enables the audience to make sense of the rest of the seminar.
Dr Fitzgerald will guide us through the complex world of human interactions and how it relates to the acquisition of sexually transmitted infection. She will attempt to achieve this whilst avoiding any mention of the World Cup and a team who shall not be named!
Dr Reid intends to show why, for zoonotic diseases we need to understand R0 in the non- human animals (Them) rather than human ones (Us) because, as that great rock band sang who knows which is which and who is who and in the end it's only round and round.
Dr Knibbs has spent hours unravelling the secret things bacteria do in the air that enable them to find new hosts to infect. His story shows how the sentiment of welcome to the machine in a surgery is (not) alright (when) we know where you've been, especially if you are doing a joint replacement surgery.
Mr Davis will show how the study of HIV gene sequences illustrates nicely the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, which that great detective Dirk Gently (author Douglas Adams) used to solve the whole crime, and find the whole person. In Craig’s case he hopes to show how cluster analysis can lead to the discovery and “busting” of whole clusters of HIV transmission.
Mr Gardiner, with 30+ years involvement in the response to HIV, has seen numbers struggle to capture the dynamics of an epidemic as key populations live by the creed shine on you crazy diamond.
Professor Whittaker will end the show with a bang by demonstrating how the issues of disease transmission change as we approach the elimination of malaria in the region, a bit like the final show at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.