Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computational Science


Martine Ceberio

Second Advisor

Carlos Castillo-Chavez


During the last decades, mathematical epidemiological models have been used to understand the dynamics of infectious diseases and guide public health policy. In particular, several continuous models have been considered to study single in uenza outbreaks and the impact of dierent control policies. In this dissertation, a discrete time model is introduced in order to study optimal control strategies for in uenza transmission; since epidemiological data is collected on discrete units of time, a discrete formulation is more ecient. From a mathematical point of view, continuous time model are easier to analyze, however, the numerical solution of discrete-time models is simpler and therefore can be easily implemented. We formulated a discrete susceptible-infected-treated-recovered (SITR) model. We evaluated the potential eect of control measures, such as social distancing and antiviral treatment in the context of a single in uenza outbreak. The objective was to minimize the total number of infected individuals at the end of the epidemic in a most economical way. The potential eect of antiviral treatment was evaluated by considering both unlimited and limited supply. We found that the use of single and dual strategies (social distancing and antiviral treatment) resulted in reductions in the cumulative number of infected individuals. In the case of limited resources, our results showed that in order to control the epidemic, most of the resources must be utilized at the beginning of the epidemic until all the resources exhausted. The optimal control problem was solved by using two dierent techniques: 1) By using a discrete version of Pontryagin's maximum principle, with the commonly used forwardbackward algorithm; and 2) by using the primal-dual interior-point method. The later approach allowed the inclusion of constraints more eciently and solved the problem in fewer iterations. The main advantage of interior-point methods was that constraints can be included in a simple way; in particular, the isoperimetric constraint in the case of limited resources. However, since this technique is based on the Newton Method, the solution was very sensitive to initial conditions. vi In addition, the role of heterogeneity in the population was considered. The total population was divided into subgroups according to activity or susceptibility levels. The goal was to determine how treatment doses should be distributed and how social distancing should be implemented in each group in order to reduce the nal epidemic size. We presented numerical results for two and three groups, both for the case of seasonal and pandemic in uenza. The results were sensitive to dierent population sizes; that is, our results showed that in order to control an epidemic, more resources need to be channeled towards the group with the largest population and most active. Finally, we considered another optimization problem derived for the same epidemiological model in which, instead of minimizing the number of infected individuals, we estimated parameter values from historical epidemic data in order to identify features, such as contact rate and recovery rate. Although the parameter values used in the model were estimated from epidemiological data, there is still some uncertainty in their values. Thus, we introduced some basic ideas and examples of parameter estimation applied to discrete epidemiological models. Our goal was to present all the tools necessary to better estimate parameter values and implementation of optimal control measures. We found that a discrete formulation allows us to solve the parameter estimation problem in a simpler way.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

99 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Paula Andrea Gonzalez Parra