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Characteristics of human encounters and social mixing patterns relevant to infectious diseases spread by close contact: a survey in Southwest Uganda

  • 2018/04/11
Type of publication
  • Articles
Authors
  • le Polain de Waroux O
  • Cohuet S
  • Ndazima D
  • Kucharski AJ
  • Juan-Giner A
  • Flasche S
  • Tumwesigye E
  • Arinaitwe R
  • Mwanga-Amumpaire J
  • Boum Y 2nd
  • Nackers F
  • Checchi F
  • Grais RF
  • Edmunds WJ
Themes
  • Autres
BACKGROUND:
Quantification of human interactions relevant to infectious disease transmission through social contact is central to predict disease dynamics, yet data from low-resource settings remain scarce.
 
METHODS:
We undertook a social contact survey in rural Uganda, whereby participants were asked to recall details about the frequency, type, and socio-demographic characteristics of any conversational encounter that lasted for ≥5 min (henceforth defined as 'contacts') during the previous day. An estimate of the number of 'casual contacts' (i.e. < 5 min) was also obtained.
 
RESULTS:
In total, 566 individuals were included in the study. On average participants reported having routine contact with 7.2 individuals (range 1-25). Children aged 5-14 years had the highest frequency of contacts and the elderly (≥65 years) the fewest (P < 0.001). A strong age-assortative pattern was seen, particularly outside the household and increasingly so for contacts occurring further away from home. Adults aged 25-64 years tended to travel more often and further than others, and males travelled more frequently than females.
 
CONCLUSION:
Our study provides detailed information on contact patterns and their spatial characteristics in an African setting. It therefore fills an important knowledge gap that will help more accurately predict transmission dynamics and the impact of control strategies in such areas.