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Monsters, microbiology and mathematics: The epidemiology of a zombie apocalypse

Verran, J and Crossley, M and Carolan, K and Jacobs, N and Amos, M (2013) Monsters, microbiology and mathematics: The epidemiology of a zombie apocalypse. Journal of Biological Education, 48. ISSN 0021-9266

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Abstract

The aim of this learning exercise was to harness current interest in zombies in order to educate audiences about the epidemiology of infectious disease. Participants in the activity were provided with an outbreak scenario, which they then used as the basis of play-based activities. By considering the mode and speed of transmission, size of outbreak and prevention/control strategy, participant groups were able to define parameters of their outbreak scenario. These were then input to SimZombie, a computer simulation program developed by the authors, which visually demonstrated the spread of infection through a population. The resulting animations were then used as the basis of in-depth discussion which, in turn, enabled the consideration of principles of disease transmission and control strategies. The activity provided an opportunity to engage a range of audiences through a variety of different delivery mechanisms, including role play, workshops and informal drop-in. Learning was evidenced by participation and feedback. © 2013 Society of Biology.

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