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Epidemiology News Briefs - February 21, 2017

How Long Would it Take Zombies to Wipe Out Humans?

Zombies are making public health headlines again. This time, undergraduate students at the University of Leicester have applied an SIR model to simulate the spread of a Zombie virus.  SIR models are a class of epidemiological models that predict the spread of disease. The name derives from equations describing the numbers of susceptible, infected and recovered people. The results of the zombie SIR model? In just 100 days, the human population would be reduced to less than 300, though the authors concede the original study had limitations. First, they did not allow humans to kill any zombies, and second, they did not account for the diminishing population of humans increasing the amount of time it took zombies to find their prey. According to LiveScience, a follow-up paper addressing these limitations resulted in a much rosier outlook for mankind. After a rapid decline in the human population, the zombies eventually died off and the human population began to recover.

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