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SIR BuildIt

Author(s): Anton E Weisstein

Truman State University

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An introduction to epidemiological models using interactive Excel worksheets

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 03 Apr 2020 doi:10.25334/MF1T-WV05 - cite this


This Excel workbook implements an SIR (Susceptible/Infectious/Recovered) model for the spread of an infectious disease. The user specifies the initial population, including the percentages of infected and recovered individuals, as well as the transmission and recovery rates. The workbook then tracks the epidemic over 100 time steps, plotting the results over time as well as generating the corresponding S/I phase plot. The model and graphs automatically update as parameter values are changed, visually demonstrating each parameter's effect on the disease's spread.

The basic SIR model serves as a starting point for developing more sophisticated models including features such as demographic groups with different health risks, the effects of public health measures, natural birth and death rates, and the impact of stochasticity (randomness). Versions of these models are included on separate worksheets. Users are encouraged to use these examples to develop customized models that include additional features (e.g., vector transmission, latency period), or that combine multiple features to model the spread of a specific disease.

This resource also includes links to two walk-through videos for instructors.

Do you want to know more about implementing this material? Have a question for the author? Used the material and have feedback? As a featured Resource Walk-Through in the Teaching Quantitative Biology Online group, you can learn more about the module and participate in a discussion: 

Resource Walk-Through

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