Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Before the attack on September 11,2001, the United States was very vulnerable to a biological attack. Since then, those responsible for the security of the United States Homeland Security have become more aware of the country's vulnerability. Biological agents have the potential to give small groups of people unprecedented power to terrorize, as indicate by the "Amerithrax" attack in 2001, and of all of these agents, none have more potential for destruction than Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF). This research uses one of the deadliest viruses that have not been eradicated to identify the number of fatalities in an outbreak affecting the United States. EHF is one of the deadliest viruses known, and is classified as a category A bioweapon. This research uses current modeling technology with most recent data to model a worst-case scenario of an attack involving EHF-Zaire. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT), and the Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (STEM) was used to determine the number of index cases in hypothetical attacks on four United States cities, Los Angeles, Houston, New York City, and St. Louis, and each was processed in STEM to track the diffusion of the outbreak spatially and temporal. Fatality numbers were calculated from STEM, using recorded Comma Separated Variable (CSV) files . The fatalities for each scenario were over 136 million over the six month study period. An understanding of a worst-case EHF- Zaire scenario will be a valuable asset for emergency response and epidemiological personnel with regard to the crafting of response strategies and training scenarios.


Dr. Thomas Schafer

Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type



© The Author(s)


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Geology Commons