Modeling Public Health Emergency Response Logistics

Kathleen King, Cornell University

Photo of Kathleen King

Inhalational anthrax is almost always fatal unless antibiotics are taken before the full onset of symptoms, which can happen within 48 hours of exposure. In the event of a large-scale bioterrorist attack like anthrax, the affected population must be provided with antibiotics and other medical treatment rapidly. To accomplish this, an ad hoc distribution network must be set up to provide necessary medical supplies. This network must be optimized to prevent unnecessary bottlenecks and ensure that limited resources and staff are deployed effectively. We have developed a set of simulation and optimization models of this network. We show how these models can be used to identify minimum levels for supply stockpiles, transportation capabilities, and medical staffing requirements. We also determine policies for operating the distribution network during an emergency response.

Abstract Author(s): Kathleen King and Jack Muckstadt