Important legal notice
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Communicable diseases
Communicable diseases - Focusing on neglected killers
“To improve measures for preventing the spread of infectious diseases and allow policy-makers to select the optimum control strategy in an outbreak situation.”

The problem

The SARS – severe acute respiratory syndrome – epidemic of 2003 was a cool reminder of the vulnerability of highly connected human societies to directly transmitted respiratory tract pathogens. The volume of people travelling by air has increased steadily over recent decades and this factor contributed to the rapid transmission of the SARS virus between countries. To prevent such “super-spreading” events in future outbreaks, it will be necessary to understand the transmission dynamics of the virus in order to put in place the most effective control measures.

SARSTRANS  Modelling the transmission of the SARS virus


SARSTRANS will bring together existing knowledge about the SARS virus and its mode of transmission to develop models leading to more effective control.

The project will:

  • Identify the key epidemiological parameters that determine the spread of the virus and the impact of different control measures
  • Provide guidance on the construction of databases for tracking epidemic outbreaks
  • Develop mathematical models of pathogen transmission
  • Perform risk and cost-benefit analyses for the emergence, spread and control of infectious agents in different scenarios

Contribution to policy development:

  • Facilitate scenario analyses by policy-makers within user-friendly software packages
  • Enable cost-benefit analyses of different public health measures
  • Build consensus within Europe on issues surrounding SARS and other communicable diseases
  • Strengthen infectious disease epidemiology and epidemic control in China, in preparation for emergence or re-emergence of respiratory tract infections

Project deliverables

  • Evaluation of database construction and epidemiological parameterisation – start August 2004, end September 2005
  • Initial evaluation of mathematical and statistical frameworks, and evaluation of SARS transmission dynamics – start August 2004, end March 2006
  • Risk analysis and cost-benefit calculations – September 2006, end August 2007
  • Software to simulate simple model predictions – start September 2006, end August 2007


  • Website – February 2005
  • Workshops – August 2005 and February 2007
  • Consortium meeting – August 2006
  • Document on best practice regarding epidemiological databases – July 2005
  • Interim activity reports – September 2005 and March 2006
  • Final report – August 2007

Technical information

Project acronym: SARSTRANS
Project’s official full title: Control policy optimisation for SARS and other emerging infections: characterising transmission dynamics and estimating key epidemiological parameters
Research priority: SARS
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 511066
Start date: 01/08/2004
Kick off meeting: 16-17/08/2004
Completion date: 01/08/2007
European Commission scientific officer: Cornelius Schmaltz (

Name: Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Abbreviated name: Imperial
Address: St Mary’s Campus
Norfolk Place
London W2 1PG
Country: UK
Tel: +44 20 7594 3398
Fax: +44 20 7402 3927


Name: Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale
Abbreviated name: INSERM
Country: France

Name: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University
Abbreviated name: UU
Country: The Netherlands

Name: Hong Kong University
Abbreviated name: HKU
Country: Hong Kong, China

Name: National Health Research Institutes
Abbreviated name: NHRI, Taiwan
Country: Taiwan, China

Name: Beijing 301 Hospital
Abbreviated name: 301 Hospital, Beijing
Country: China

Name: IC Consultants Ltd.
Abbreviated name: ICC
Country: UK