Agent-based modelling of cholera diffusion

Ellen-Wien Augustijn*, Tom Doldersum, Juliana Useya, Denie Augustijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


This paper introduces a spatially explicit agent-based simulation model for micro-scale cholera diffusion. The model simulates both an environmental reservoir of naturally occurring V.cholerae bacteria and hyperinfectious V. cholerae. Objective of the research is to test if runoff from open refuse dumpsites plays a role in cholera diffusion. A number of experiments were conducted with the model for a case study in Kumasi, Ghana, based on an epidemic in 2005. Experiments confirm the importance of the hyperinfectious transmission route, however, they also reveal the importance of a representative spatial distribution of the income classes. Although the contribution of runoff from dumpsites can never be conclusively proven, the experiments show that modelling the epidemic via this mechanism is possible and improves the model results. Relevance of this research is that it shows the possibilities of agent-based modelling combined with pattern reproduction for cholera diffusion studies. The proposed model is simple in its setup but can be extended by adding additional elements such as human movement and change of behaviour of individuals based on disease awareness. Eventually, agent-based models will open opportunities to explore policy related research questions related to interventions to influence the diffusion process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2079-2095
Number of pages17
JournalStochastic environmental research and risk assessment
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Agent-based modelling
  • Cholera
  • Dumpsite runoff
  • Ghana


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