Estimating infectious disease parameters from data on social contacts and serological status
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: series C: applied statistics. - London
, p. 255-277
University of Antwerp
In dynamic models of infectious disease transmission, typically various mixing patterns are imposed on the so-calledWho-Acquires-Infection-From-Whom matrix (WAIFW). These imposed mixing patterns are based on prior knowledge of agerelated social mixing behavior rather than observations. Alternatively, one can assume that transmission rates for infections transmitted predominantly through non-sexual social contacts, are proportional to rates of conversational contact which can be estimated from a contact survey. In general, however, contacts reported in social contact surveys are proxies of those events by which transmission may occur and there may exist age-specific characteristics related to susceptibility and infectiousness which are not captured by the contact rates. Therefore, in this paper, transmission is modeled as the product of two age-specific variables: the age-specific contact rate and an age-specific proportionality factor, which entails an improvement of fit for the seroprevalence of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in Belgium. Furthermore, we address the impact on the estimation of the basic reproduction number, using non-parametric bootstrapping to account for different sources of variability and using multi-model inference to deal with model selection uncertainty. The proposed method makes it possible to obtain important information on transmission dynamics that cannot be inferred from approaches traditionally applied hitherto.