Areas of Science Pandemics – COVID-19
Human Biology & Health
Difficulty
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.

Abstract

"Flu season" is something we deal with every winter. Cyclical or seasonal outbreaks of an infectious disease can occur for a variety of reasons, such as seasonal changes in host behavior (for example, more people staying indoors), the seasonal abundance of disease carriers (for example, mosquitos), and many others.

Another factor that can play a role in cyclical outbreaks occurs when the natural immunity to a disease has a short duration. This enables each individual in the population to repeatedly contract the disease.

Familiarize yourself with the Seasonal Disease Outbreaks Notebook in SimPandemic. Use SimPandemic to model how disease variables such as the Basic Reproduction Number (R₀), Duration of Natural Immunity, Duration of Infectiousness, Latent Period, and others can interact to create cyclical outbreaks.

Tips and hints:

  • During your exploration phase, slowly change one disease variable at a time to see and record its impact. Return to the settings for a common starting point (such as Graph 1 in the Notebook) before exploring a different disease variable (use Customize Settings - Reset to Defaults). Only after you examine changing one variable at a time should you start combining changes to multiple variables.
  • You can use Export to Excel® to dump the simulation output. In a spreadsheet program you can do more sophisticated analysis than you can by just looking at the SimPandemic graphs.
  • When you interpret your simulation output, remember that if the Latent Period is greater than zero, you will always have some infected individuals that don't display symptoms until their latent period ends. Therefore, the Symptoms curve will be lower than the Infected curve.

Some possible questions to explore:

  • Which are the most important disease variables? Which play no role?
  • For a given set of inputs, can you predict the period between outbreaks?
  • What parameters can cause a disease to settle into a "steady state" where it doesn't result in outbreaks, but it never goes away?
  • What happens if everyone contracts a disease before immunity disappears?

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project Yes, I Did This Project! Please log in (or create a free account) to let us know how things went.

Credits

Kenneth L. Hess, Science Buddies

Excel® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

Cite This Page

General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Hess, Kenneth L.. "Seasonal Disease Outbreaks." Science Buddies, 2 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Coronavirus_p011/coronavirus-covid-19/seasonal-disease-outbreaks. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

APA Style

Hess, K. (2020, November 2). Seasonal Disease Outbreaks. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Coronavirus_p011/coronavirus-covid-19/seasonal-disease-outbreaks


Last edit date: 2020-11-02

Experimental Procedure

For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project Yes, I Did This Project! Please log in (or create a free account) to let us know how things went.

Ask an Expert

The Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.

Ask an Expert

Related Links

If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

epidemiologist conducting research

Epidemiologist

Do you like a good mystery? Well, an epidemiologist's job is all about solving mysteries—medical mysteries—but instead of figuring out "who done it" like a police detective would, they figure out "what caused it." They find relationships between a medical condition and things like human behavior, environmental toxins, genes, medical treatments, other diseases, and geographical location. For example, they ask questions like what causes multiple sclerosis? How can we prevent brain cancer? What is the "vector" or animal that is transmitting the hantavirus? Which populations are most at risk from a new flu virus? Epidemiologists work to answer these and thousands of other questions in an effort to reduce public health risks. Their work has the potential to save millions of lives. Read more

News Feed on This Topic

 
, ,
Note: A computerized matching algorithm suggests the above articles. It's not as smart as you are, and it may occasionally give humorous, ridiculous, or even annoying results! Learn more about the News Feed

Looking for more science fun?

Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. The perfect thing to liven up a rainy day, school vacation, or moment of boredom.

Find an Activity
Free science fair projects.