Using empirical social contact data to model person to person infectious disease transmission: an illustration for varicella
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
New York, N.Y.
Mathematical biosciences. - New York, N.Y.
, p. 80-87
University of Antwerp
With the aim to improve dynamic models for infections transmitted predominantly through non-sexual social contacts, we compared three popular model estimation methods in how well they fitted seroprevalence data and produced estimates for the basic reproduction number R0 and the effective vaccination level required for elimination of varicella. For two of these methods, interactions between age groups were parameterized using empirical social contact data whereas for the third method we used the current standard approach of imposing a simplifying structure on the Who Acquires Infection From Whom (WAIFW) matrix. The first method was based on solving a set of differential equations to obtain an equilibrium value of the proportion of susceptibles. The second method was based on finding a solution for the age-specific force of infection using the formula of the mass action principle by means of iteration. Both solutions were contrasted with observed age-specific seroprevalence data. The best fit of the WAIFW matrix was obtained with contacts involving touching, and lasting longer than 15 min per day. Plausible values for R0 for varicella in Belgium ranged from 7.66 to 13.44. Both approaches based on empirical social contact data provided a better fit to seroprevalence data than the current standard approach.