Yesterday a lunch, we ended up discussing how the influenza of 1918 caused native populations in the area to decline rapidly. One of the guys brought up how a Japanese balloon during WW II landed and brought disease with it that killed quite a few locals.
Every time there is a break out of something, the CDC or Center for Disease Control gets involved. It doesn't even have to be a disease. Years ago when they put that additive M something in the fuel, Alaska had health issues because a byproduct was formaldehyde. Due to the cold winters, the formaldehyde stayed at ground level and people developed problems. The CDC came up an investigated. So this asks the question - "What math does the CDC use?".
The Washington Post ran a great article that discusses the spread of Ebola. The article includes some great infographics and discusses the math involved. It would be easy to create a worksheet or guide to accompany the article so students can write down information as they read.
This article discusses what can happen when a wrong value is used in calculating risk. A business sold flooring made in China that may not meet U.S. air quality standards. In addition, this article explains more about the error. Its quite good in that it shows how a small error can cause underestimation of the danger. This article showed the underestimation and how it changed when the error was corrected.
This pdf discusses the ways statistics is used within infectious disease epidemiology. It is a 17 page document that discusses frequency distribution, ratios, proportions, and rates, morbidity frequency rates, point vs period prevalence and other topics. There are lots of examples because this is used to train health officials.
From We Use Math comes an interview with an epidemiologist who explains the types of math they do and how she uses it in her job. It is a short article that could be used as an introduction.
I found a great pdf for math modeling I am going to share tomorrow because its perfect for a entry on that topic.