A Review of Epidemic Forecasting Using Artificial Neural Networks

Document Type: Review article


1 Department of Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia /Department of Information Technology, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola School of Management and Information Technology, Adamawa State, Nigeria

2 Department of Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia

3 Adekunle Ajasin University, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Ondo State, Nigeria


Background and aims: Since accurate forecasts help inform decisions for preventive health-care
intervention and epidemic control, this goal can only be achieved by making use of appropriate
techniques and methodologies. As much as forecast precision is important, methods and model
selection procedures are critical to forecast precision. This study aimed at providing an overview of
the selection of the right artificial neural network (ANN) methodology for the epidemic forecasts. It is
necessary for forecasters to apply the right tools for the epidemic forecasts with high precision.
Methods: It involved sampling and survey of epidemic forecasts based on ANN. A comparison of
performance using ANN forecast and other methods was reviewed. Hybrids of a neural network with
other classical methods or meta-heuristics that improved performance of epidemic forecasts were
Results: Implementing hybrid ANN using data transformation techniques based on improved
algorithms, combining forecast models, and using technological platforms enhance the learning and
generalization of ANN in forecasting epidemics.
Conclusion: The selection of forecasting tool is critical to the precision of epidemic forecast; hence, a
working guide for the choice of appropriate tools will help reduce inconsistency and imprecision in
forecasting epidemic size in populations. ANN hybrids that combined other algorithms and models,
data transformation and technology should be used for an epidemic forecast.