Public health agencies traditionally rely heavily on epidemiological reporting for notifiable disease control, but increasingly apply simulation models for forecasting and to understand intervention tradeoffs. Unfortunately, such models traditionally lack capacity to easily incorporate information from epidemiological data feeds. Here, we introduce particle filtering and demonstrate how this approach can be used to readily incorporate recurrently available new data so as to robustly tolerate – and correct for – both model limitations and noisy data, and to aid in parameter estimation, while imposing far less onerous assumptions regarding the mathematical framework and epidemiological and measurement processes than other proposed solutions. By comparing against synthetic ground truth produced by an agent-based model, we demonstrate the benefits conferred by particle filtering parameters and state variables even in the context of an aggregate, incomplete and systematically biased compartmental model, and note important avenues for future work to make such approaches more widely accessible.
An aggregate System Dynamics (compartmental) infection transmission model