• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of procbhomepageaboutsubmitalertseditorial board
Proc Biol Sci. Jul 22, 1997; 264(1384): 949–957.
PMCID: PMC1688546

Who mixes with whom? A method to determine the contact patterns of adults that may lead to the spread of airborne infections.

Abstract

Although mixing patterns are thought to be important determinants of the spread of airborne infectious diseases, to our knowledge, there have been no attempts to directly quantify them for humans. We report on a preliminary study to identify such mixing patterns. A sample of 92 adults were asked to detail the individuals with whom they had conversed over the period of one, randomly assigned, day. Sixty-five (71%) completed the questionnaire, providing their age, the age of their contacts and the social context in which the contacts took place. The data were analysed using multilevel modelling. The study identified, and allowed the quantification of, contact patterns within this sample that may be of epidemiological significance. For example, the degree of assortativeness of mixing with respect to age was dependent not only on the age of participants but the number of contacts made. Estimates of the relative magnitude of contact rates between different social settings were made, with implications for outbreak potential. Simple questionnaire modifications are suggested which would yield information on the structure and dynamics of social networks and the intensity of contacts. Surveys of this nature may enable the quantification of who acquires infection from whom and from where.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (345K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Anderson RM, Grenfell BT. Quantitative investigations of different vaccination policies for the control of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in the United Kingdom. J Hyg (Lond) 1986 Apr;96(2):305–333. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Anderson RM, Gupta S, Ng W. The significance of sexual partner contact networks for the transmission dynamics of HIV. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 1990;3(4):417–429. [PubMed]
  • Anderson RM, May RM. Age-related changes in the rate of disease transmission: implications for the design of vaccination programmes. J Hyg (Lond) 1985 Jun;94(3):365–436. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Babad HR, Nokes DJ, Gay NJ, Miller E, Morgan-Capner P, Anderson RM. Predicting the impact of measles vaccination in England and Wales: model validation and analysis of policy options. Epidemiol Infect. 1995 Apr;114(2):319–344. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Boily MC, Anderson RM. Sexual contact patterns between men and women and the spread of HIV-1 in urban centres in Africa. IMA J Math Appl Med Biol. 1991;8(4):221–247. [PubMed]
  • Fine PE, Clarkson JA. Measles in England and Wales--I: An analysis of factors underlying seasonal patterns. Int J Epidemiol. 1982 Mar;11(1):5–14. [PubMed]
  • Garnett GP, Hughes JP, Anderson RM, Stoner BP, Aral SO, Whittington WL, Handsfield HH, Holmes KK. Sexual mixing patterns of patients attending sexually transmitted diseases clinics. Sex Transm Dis. 1996 May-Jun;23(3):248–257. [PubMed]
  • Gay NJ, Hesketh LM, Morgan-Capner P, Miller E. Interpretation of serological surveillance data for measles using mathematical models: implications for vaccine strategy. Epidemiol Infect. 1995 Aug;115(1):139–156. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Grenfell BT, Anderson RM. The estimation of age-related rates of infection from case notifications and serological data. J Hyg (Lond) 1985 Oct;95(2):419–436. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gupta S, Anderson RM, May RM. Networks of sexual contacts: implications for the pattern of spread of HIV. AIDS. 1989 Dec;3(12):807–817. [PubMed]
  • Haraldsdottir S, Gupta S, Anderson RM. Preliminary studies of sexual networks in a male homosexual community in Iceland. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 1992;5(4):374–381. [PubMed]
  • Kretzschmar M, Morris M. Measures of concurrency in networks and the spread of infectious disease. Math Biosci. 1996 Apr 15;133(2):165–195. [PubMed]
  • Longini IM, Jr, Koopman JS. Household and community transmission parameters from final distributions of infections in households. Biometrics. 1982 Mar;38(1):115–126. [PubMed]
  • Nokes DJ, Anderson RM, Anderson MJ. Rubella epidemiology in South East England. J Hyg (Lond) 1986 Apr;96(2):291–304. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Nokes DJ, Wright J, Morgan-Capner P, Anderson RM. Serological study of the epidemiology of mumps virus infection in north-west England. Epidemiol Infect. 1990 Aug;105(1):175–195. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Woodhouse DE, Rothenberg RB, Potterat JJ, Darrow WW, Muth SQ, Klovdahl AS, Zimmerman HP, Rogers HL, Maldonado TS, Muth JB, et al. Mapping a social network of heterosexuals at high risk for HIV infection. AIDS. 1994 Sep;8(9):1331–1336. [PubMed]

Articles from Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences are provided here courtesy of The Royal Society

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...