Contact diaries versus wearable proximity sensors in measuring contact patterns at a conference: method comparison and participants’ attitudes

Timo Smieszek, Stefanie Castell, Alain Barrat, Ciro Cattuto, Peter J. White, Gérard Krause BMC Inf Dis 16:341 (2016)

Background
Studies measuring contact networks have helped to improve our understanding of infectious disease transmission. However, several methodological issues are still unresolved, such as which method of contact measurement is the most valid. Further, complete network analysis requires data from most, ideally all, members of a network and, to achieve this, acceptance of the measurement method. We aimed at investigating measurement error by comparing two methods of contact measurement – paper diaries vs. wearable proximity sensors – that were applied concurrently to the same population, and we measured acceptability.

Methods
We investigated the contact network of one day of an epidemiology conference in September 2014. Seventy-six participants wore proximity sensors throughout the day while concurrently recording their contacts with other study participants in a paper-diary; they also reported on method acceptability.

Results
There were 329 contact reports in the paper diaries, corresponding to 199 contacts, of which 130 were noted by both parties. The sensors recorded 316 contacts, which would have resulted in 632 contact reports if there had been perfect concordance in recording. We estimated the probabilities that a contact was reported in a diary as: P = 72 % for 60 min. The sets of sensor-measured and self-reported contacts had a large intersection, but neither was a subset of the other. Participants’ aggregated contact duration was mostly substantially longer in the diary data than in the sensor data. Twenty percent of respondents (>1 reported contact) stated that filling in the diary was too much work, 25 % of respondents reported difficulties in remembering contacts, and 93 % were comfortable having their conference contacts measured by sensors.

Conclusion
Reporting and recording were not complete; reporting was particularly incomplete for contacts


URL: http://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-016-1676-y

PDF: http://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12879-016-1676-y

BIBTEX:

@Article{Smieszek2016,
author="Smieszek, Timo
and Castell, Stefanie
and Barrat, Alain
and Cattuto, Ciro
and White, Peter J.
and Krause, G{'e}rard",
title="Contact diaries versus wearable proximity sensors in measuring contact patterns at a conference: 
method comparison and participants' attitudes",
journal="BMC Infectious Diseases",
year="2016",
volume="16",
number="1",
pages="1--14",
issn="1471-2334",
doi="10.1186/s12879-016-1676-y",
url="http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-016-1676-y"
}

PUBLICATIONS

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