Seminar 05/12/13: Social contact network models for combatting airborne infectious diseases

Social contact network models for combatting airborne infectious diseases
Sean McGarraghy
Quinn & Smurfit Schools of Business, UCD
Thursday 5 December 2013
1pm, Room KA3-011, DIT Kevin Street


Standard "compartment" models of infectious disease transmission divide the population into compartments such as Susceptible, Exposed, Infected and Recovered (in the SEIR model) and model the dynamics of movement among the compartments by differential equations. However, they do not take into account the way disease actually spreads, through contacts between Exposed/Infected people and others. More recent approaches, e.g., (Moore & Newman, 2000; Meyers et al, 2005) have looked at social contact networks to model disease transmission and epidemics, with infection spreading along edges (physical contacts) in the social network. Once the network parameters have been chosen, simulations can be run to study the progress of the disease in the network and the efficacy of control or prevention approaches such as targeted vaccinations, and so make recommendations to decision makers on the best use of resources. In this talk we describe the use of social contact networks to study the airborne infectious disease measles in Tanzania, where it is still a major problem. Census and other data are used to better initialise the network with realistic contact information and network structure, and simulations are run both with and without interventions. This leads to recommendations for targeted interventions. This is joint work with Herieth Rwezaura.