Mathematical model and simulations of MERS outbreak: Predictions and implications for control measures

The Middle East Respiratory SyndromeВ (MERS) has been identified in 2012 and since thenВ outbreaks have been reported in various localities in theВ Middle East and in other parts of the world. To helpВ predict the possible dynamics of MERS, as well as waysВ to contain it, this paper develops a mathematical modelВ for the disease. It has a compartmental structure similarВ to SARS models and is in the form of a coupled systemВ of nonlinear ordinary differential equations (ODEs). TheВ model predictions are fitted to data from the outbreaksВ in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) during 2013-2016. The resultsВ reveal that MERS will eventually be contained in the city.В However, the containment time and the severity of the outbreaks depend crucially on the contact coefficients andВ the isolation rate constant. When randomness is addedВ to the model coefficients, the simulations show that theВ model is sensitive to the scaled contact rate among peopleВ and to the isolation rate. The model is analyzed usingВ stability theory for ODEs and indicates that when usingВ only isolation, the endemic steady state is locally stableВ and attracting. Numerical simulations with parametersВ estimated from the city of Riyadh illustrate the analyticalВ results and the model behavior, which may have importantВ implications for the disease containment in the city. Indeed,В the model highlights the importance of isolation of infectedВ individuals and may be used to assess other controlВ measures. The model is general and may be used to analyzeВ outbreaks in other parts of the Middle East and other areas.