Understanding the complexity of biological outbreak scenarios is critical to effective preparedness and response efforts. The characteristics that drive that complexity have not been previously described in a way that can be easily communicated. To address this gap, Talus Analytics, in collaboration with Georgetown University, developed an interactive visualization tool to explore biological outbreak scenarios based on their major response-relevant characteristics.
Talus defined a series of response-relevant characteristics of biological outbreaks (e.g., type of spread, morbidity and fatality rate, route of transmission, applicable medical countermeasures) and used combinatorial analysis to generate and rationalize over 22 million notional events. These scenarios are displayed in an interactive visualization tool showing each event scenario mapped to the relevant response characteristics with filters that allow users to explore events with specific characteristics. The tools supports practitioners, decision makers, educators, and stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the challenges associated with effectively planning for and responding to biological outbreaks and understand the underlying characteristics of outbreaks that shape planning and response efforts.