A New Way to Calculate Costs of Infectious Diseases
The UPMC Center for Health Security developed the Infectious Disease Cost Calculator (IDCC) to provide new national and global estimates of the economic burden of infectious diseases. Cost data provided by the IDCC can inform decisions about investments in preventing and controlling infectious diseases at the national and global levels. The IDCC is being launched with data for dengue and cholera, and other diseases will be added in the future.
IDCC Data and Sources: Disease incidence estimates used in the IDCC calculator are derived from the best available surveillance data from the World Health Organization (WHO), supplemented with robust, peer-reviewed national and regional case surveillance reports. Using the CUSTOMIZED calculator mode, IDCC users can choose to substitute the incidence numbers used in the calculator with alternative numbers or assumptions to generate cost estimates based on those numbers.
Calculating Costs: The IDCC works by calculating and then combining the direct and indirect economic costs of specific infectious diseases to provide a conservative total cost estimate for each country. IDCC cost estimates are derived from established economic theory and are informed by previous infectious disease cost models. In the cost model sections of the site, we provide a complete description and discussion of our methodology along with our references. Go to cholera cost model page | Go to dengue cost model page.
3 ways to interact with the IDCC: 1) Calculate the estimated disease costs for your country using the IDCC, above; 2) Visualize IDCC estimates across the globe with our interactive maps. 3) Download the IDCC spreadsheets for access to all IDCC variables.
Data for Decision Makers
The IDCC was developed because currently there are very few country-specific cost estimates and no global cost estimates for most infectious diseases. Policymakers often have made consequential decisions about public health policy and resource allocation for disease prevention and control without knowing how costly and burdensome a disease is for a country or for the global community.
Infectious diseases such as cholera and dengue have devastating consequences for the people and economies they affect, yet these and other tropical diseases often receive little attention and funding because the real costs are not well understood. Without the ability to calculate the economic burden of disease, health ministers and other public health and political leaders are not able to make fully informed decisions regarding the most effective and cost-effective interventions for preventing or mitigating the effects of infectious diseases.
IDCC data provide information that can help answer a variety of questions, making it possible for public health practitioners, policy-makers, philanthropists, and researchers to compare estimated costs of diseases with costs of control and mitigation measures, such as vaccines, bed nets, medicines, and education. Additionally, using the expanded features of the calculator, users can alter case numbers to reflect projected effects of interventions, increased virulence, or other factors that may impose societal costs.
- Invest? A country can make better informed decisions about whether to invest in disease control measures when the economic toll of the disease and not just the cost of control measures are better quantified.
- Donate? Which countries are suffering the greatest economic toll from a disease and are in greatest need of limited philanthropic resources?
- Control or mitigate? With limited public health funds to spend on interventions, what actions will produce the greatest benefits to a country plagued by a disease?
If you have suggestions for ways we might improve our cost model, refine our source data, or enhance IDCC functionality, please send us an email.
The merit of each suggestion will be evaluated by the project team, in consultation with infectious disease experts as needed, to further improve the calculator.