University of Virginia
We aim to determine the economic and social impact of typical interventions proposed by the public health officials and preventive behavioral changes adopted by the private citizens in the event of a "flu-like" epidemic.
The preventive behavior of the private citizens is the most important factor in controlling the epidemic.
We apply an individual-based simulation model to the New River Valley area of Virginia for addressing this critical problem. The economic costs include not only the loss in productivity due to sickness but also the indirect cost incurred through disease avoidance and caring for dependents.
The results show that the most important factor responsible for preventing income loss is the modification of individual behavior; it drops the total income loss by 62% compared to the base case. The next most important factor is the closure of schools which reduces the total income loss by another 40%.