• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of straninfSexually Transmitted InfectionsVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Sex Transm Infect. Aug 2004; 80(4): 280–285.
PMCID: PMC1744860

Sexual network analysis of a gonorrhoea outbreak

Abstract

Objectives: Sexual partnerships can be viewed as networks in order to study disease transmission. We examined the transmission of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in a localised outbreak in Alberta, Canada, using measures of network centrality to determine the association between risk of infection of network members and their position within the sexual network. We also compared risk in smaller disconnected components with a large network centred on a social venue.

Methods: During the investigation of the outbreak, epidemiological data were collected on gonorrhoea cases and their sexual contacts from STI surveillance records. In addition to traditional contact tracing information, subjects were interviewed about social venues they attended in the past year where casual sexual partnering may have occurred. Sexual networks were constructed by linking together named partners. Univariate comparisons of individual network member characteristics and algebraic measures of network centrality were completed.

Results: The sexual networks consisted of 182 individuals, of whom 107 were index cases with laboratory confirmed gonorrhoea and 75 partners of index cases. People who had significantly higher information centrality within each of their local networks were found to have patronised a popular motel bar in the main town in the region (p = 0.05). When the social interaction through the bar was considered, a large network of 89 individuals was constructed that joined all eight of the largest local networks. Moreover, several networks from different communities were linked by individuals who served as bridge populations as a result of their sexual partnering.

Conclusion: Asking clients about particular social venues emphasised the importance of location in disease transmission. Network measures of centrality, particularly information centrality, allowed the identification of key individuals through whom infection could be channelled into local networks. Such individuals would be ideal targets for increased interventions.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (159K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Rothenberg R, Narramore J. The relevance of social network concepts to sexually transmitted disease control. Sex Transm Dis. 1996 Jan-Feb;23(1):24–29. [PubMed]
  • Wylie JL, Jolly A. Patterns of chlamydia and gonorrhea infection in sexual networks in Manitoba, Canada. Sex Transm Dis. 2001 Jan;28(1):14–24. [PubMed]
  • Day S, Ward H, Ison C, Bell G, Weber J. Sexual networks: the integration of social and genetic data. Soc Sci Med. 1998 Dec;47(12):1981–1992. [PubMed]
  • Ward H, Ison CA, Day SE, Martin I, Ghani AC, Garnett GP, Bell G, Kinghorn G, Weber JN. A prospective social and molecular investigation of gonococcal transmission. Lancet. 2000 Nov 25;356(9244):1812–1817. [PubMed]
  • Cabral Teresa, Jolly Ann M, Wylie John L. Chlamydia trachomatis omp1 genotypic diversity and concordance with sexual network data. J Infect Dis. 2003 Jan 15;187(2):279–286. [PubMed]
  • Ghani AC, Ison CA, Ward H, Garnett GP, Bell G, Kinghorn GR, Weber J, Day S. Sexual partner networks in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. An analysis of gonorrhea cases in Sheffield, UK. Sex Transm Dis. 1996 Nov-Dec;23(6):498–503. [PubMed]
  • Potterat JJ, Rothenberg RB, Woodhouse DE, Muth JB, Pratts CI, Fogle JS., 2nd Gonorrhea as a social disease. Sex Transm Dis. 1985 Jan-Mar;12(1):25–32. [PubMed]
  • Rothenberg RB, Sterk C, Toomey KE, Potterat JJ, Johnson D, Schrader M, Hatch S. Using social network and ethnographic tools to evaluate syphilis transmission. Sex Transm Dis. 1998 Mar;25(3):154–160. [PubMed]
  • Rothenberg RB, Potterat JJ, Woodhouse DE, Muth SQ, Darrow WW, Klovdahl AS. Social network dynamics and HIV transmission. AIDS. 1998 Aug 20;12(12):1529–1536. [PubMed]
  • De Prithwish, Singh Ameeta E, Wong Tom, Yacoub Wadieh. Outbreak of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in Northern Alberta, Canada. Sex Transm Dis. 2003 Jun;30(6):497–501. [PubMed]
  • Klovdahl AS, Graviss EA, Yaganehdoost A, Ross MW, Wanger A, Adams GJ, Musser JM. Networks and tuberculosis: an undetected community outbreak involving public places. Soc Sci Med. 2001 Mar;52(5):681–694. [PubMed]
  • Wasserheit JN, Aral SO. The dynamic topology of sexually transmitted disease epidemics: implications for prevention strategies. J Infect Dis. 1996 Oct;174 (Suppl 2):S201–S213. [PubMed]
  • Brewer DD, Garrett SB. Evaluation of interviewing techniques to enhance recall of sexual and drug injection partners. Sex Transm Dis. 2001 Nov;28(11):666–677. [PubMed]
  • Yorke JA, Hethcote HW, Nold A. Dynamics and control of the transmission of gonorrhea. Sex Transm Dis. 1978 Apr-Jun;5(2):51–56. [PubMed]

Articles from Sexually Transmitted Infections are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...