The untapped potential of virtual game worlds to shed light on real world epidemics. Lancet 7:625-629

Tufts University, Бостон, Georgia, United States
The Lancet Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 22.43). 10/2007; 7(9):625-9. DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(07)70212-8
Source: PubMed


Simulation models are of increasing importance within the field of applied epidemiology. However, very little can be done to validate such models or to tailor their use to incorporate important human behaviours. In a recent incident in the virtual world of online gaming, the accidental inclusion of a disease-like phenomenon provided an excellent example of the potential of such systems to alleviate these modelling constraints. We discuss this incident and how appropriate exploitation of these gaming systems could greatly advance the capabilities of applied simulation modelling in infectious disease research.

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Available from: Eric T Lofgren, Dec 17, 2013
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    • "A similar effect was observed in World of Warcraft (a web-based multi-player game). When a plague of ‘Corrupt blood’ began to kill up to half of the players, they began to avoid big cities [103]. "
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    • "Once there, they infected the other players, typically killing everyone. This incident garnered academic attention because it offered a possible parallel to real-world epidemiological patterns (Balicer, 2007; Lofgren & Fefferman, 2007), yet some of these researchers took the mapping principle on faith, assuming that the virtual behaviors had fidelity to a real-world context. Some focused instead on the mathematics of the potential tests. "
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