Identifying human encounters that shape the transmission of Streptococcus pneumoniae and other acute respiratory infections.

Authors: le Polain de Waroux O Flasche S Kucharski AJ Langendorf C Ndazima D Mwanga-Amumpaire J Grais RF Cohuet S Edmunds WJ
Journal Reference: Epidemics 2018 12 ; 25(); 72-79. doi: 10.1016/j.epidem.2018.05.008. Epub 2018 05 19
Contact Infection Pneumococcus Respiratory Risk factor Transmission Uganda


Although patterns of social contacts are believed to be an important determinant of infectious disease transmission, it remains unclear how the frequency and nature of human interactions shape an individual's risk of infection. We analysed data on daily social encounters individually matched to data on S. pneumoniae carriage and acute respiratory symptoms (ARS), from 566 individuals who took part in a survey in South-West Uganda. We found that the frequency of physical (i.e. skin-to-skin), long (≥1 h) and household contacts - which capture some measure of close (i.e. relatively intimate) contact - was higher among pneumococcal carriers than non-carriers, and among people with ARS compared to those without, irrespective of their age. With each additional physical encounter the age-adjusted risk of carriage and ARS increased by 6% (95%CI 2-9%) and 7% (2-13%) respectively. In contrast, the number of casual contacts (

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