The university has assured us it has plans in place if a swine flu pandemic breaks out. Associate professor Dirk Brockmann and his team of researchers wanted to know the chance of that pandemic actually happening.
So they crunched data on the current number and geographical distribution of cases and travel patterns and created a “worst case scenario” projection of how fast and where the porcine illness could spread.
Brockmann’s site is careful to announce that the projections are based on the very unrealistic assumption that “no containment measures are taken to mitigate the spread” of the disease.
His model projects that, at worst, Cook County, which includes Evanston and most of the Chicago metropolitan area, could have 38 cases of swine flu in two weeks and 121 cases in four weeks.
Cook County is one of several urban centers that Brockmann’s team project could see significant swine flu infection if the spread of the illness is unchecked. In an interview, Brockmann said that cities are vulnerable not only because of increased exposure and cramped living conditions, but also because traffic between major cities is much more common than traffic between any other two destinations.