How to Estimate Epidemic Risk from Incomplete Contact Diaries Data?

R. Mastrandrea, A. Barrat. PLoS Comput Biol 12(6): e1005002 (2016)

Social interactions shape the patterns of spreading processes in a population. Techniques such as diaries or proximity sensors allow to collect data about encounters and to build networks of contacts between individuals. The contact networks obtained from these different techniques are however quantitatively different. Here, we first show how these discrepancies affect the prediction of the epidemic risk when these data are fed to numerical models of epidemic spread: low participation rate, under-reporting of contacts and overestimation of contact durations in contact diaries with respect to sensor data determine indeed important differences in the outcomes of the corresponding simulations with for instance an enhanced sensitivity to initial conditions. Most importantly, we investigate if and how information gathered from contact diaries can be used in such simulations in order to yield an accurate description of the epidemic risk, assuming that data from sensors represent the ground truth. The contact networks built from contact sensors and diaries present indeed several structural similarities: this suggests the possibility to construct, using only the contact diary network information, a surrogate contact network such that simulations using this surrogate network give the same estimation of the epidemic risk as simulations using the contact sensor network. We present and compare several methods to build such surrogate data, and show that it is indeed possible to obtain a good agreement between the outcomes of simulations using surrogate and sensor data, as long as the contact diary information is complemented by publicly available data describing the heterogeneity of the durations of human contacts.




    author = {Mastrandrea, Rossana AND Barrat, Alain},
    journal = {PLoS Comput Biol},
    publisher = {Public Library of Science},
    title = {How to Estimate Epidemic Risk from Incomplete Contact Diaries Data?},
    year = {2016},
    month = {06},
    volume = {12},
    pages = {1-19},
    number = {6},
    doi = {10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005002}


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