The spread of an infectious disease involves characteristics of the agent, the host and the environment in which transmissions take place. The purpose of modeling infectious diseases, in relation to public health, is to evaluate the agent-host-environment interface and efforts to alter the interface through intervention to our advantage, be they preventive or therapeutic in nature.
Mathematical epidemiology has a long history. In recent years more complex and biologically relevant models have been developed, and these models and their analysis have become important for influencing the design of control programs. Some of these models have been developed for emerging and reemerging diseases, some include new medical treatments, some involve evolutionary aspects and some consider new patterns of social behavior and travel. Theoretical analysis of the models is often complemented by computer simulations, which use demographic and disease incidence data. Nevertheless, there remain many challenging problems in the understanding of disease transmission and spread, and an interdisciplinary approach is required.
Centre for Disease Modelling (CDM) was established in 2010. Its mission is to work with other Canadian institutions and international organizations to build the Canadian capacity for interdisciplinary research on disease modeling using cutting-edge mathematical and statistical techniques.