Contact patterns among high school students

Published: September 17, 2014

We have published a new paper in PLoS ONE describing the contact patterns among students in a French high school in two different years.

The aggregated contact networks and contact matrices show a clear structure, with much larger values on the diagonal (corresponding to contacts within each class). In addition, we perform a longitudinal analysis of the data on two very different timescales and we show the high stability of the contact patterns across days and across years: the statistical distributions of numbers and durations of contacts are the same in different periods, and we observe a very high similarity of the contact matrices measured in different days or different years. We investigate the stability of contact networks in more details through the similarity of neighbourhoods of single individuals in different days, showing that the contacts of each individual vary substantially in different days, but much less than in null models in which contacts are renewed at random from one day to the next. The observed values of these similarities are similar in the two data sets corresponding to two different years, and can thus be considered as a feature to be included in realistic models of human contacts in such an environment.

We moreover release the corresponding time-resolved datasets. The datasets are available here as a tab-separated list of contacts during 20-second intervals of the data collection.

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