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Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2015 Mar;36(3):254-60. doi: 10.1017/ice.2014.53.

Combining high-resolution contact data with virological data to investigate influenza transmission in a tertiary care hospital.

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1Service d'Hygiène,Epidémiologie et Prévention,Hôpital Edouard Herriot,Hospices Civils de Lyon,Lyon,France.
3Université Aix Marseille,Université de Toulon,CNRS,CPT UMR 7332,13288 Marseille,France.
4Data Science Laboratory,ISI Foundation,Turin,Italy.
2Université de Lyon,Université Lyon 1,Lyon,France.
5Service de gériatrie,Hôpital Edouard Herriot,Hospices Civils de Lyon,Lyon,France.



Contact patterns and microbiological data contribute to a detailed understanding of infectious disease transmission. We explored the automated collection of high-resolution contact data by wearable sensors combined with virological data to investigate influenza transmission among patients and healthcare workers in a geriatric unit.


Proof-of-concept observational study. Detailed information on contact patterns were collected by wearable sensors over 12 days. Systematic nasopharyngeal swabs were taken, analyzed for influenza A and B viruses by real-time polymerase chain reaction, and cultured for phylogenetic analysis.


An acute-care geriatric unit in a tertiary care hospital.


Patients, nurses, and medical doctors.


A total of 18,765 contacts were recorded among 37 patients, 32 nurses, and 15 medical doctors. Most contacts occurred between nurses or between a nurse and a patient. Fifteen individuals had influenza A (H3N2). Among these, 11 study participants were positive at the beginning of the study or at admission, and 3 patients and 1 nurse acquired laboratory-confirmed influenza during the study. Infectious medical doctors and nurses were identified as potential sources of hospital-acquired influenza (HA-Flu) for patients, and infectious patients were identified as likely sources for nurses. Only 1 potential transmission between nurses was observed.


Combining high-resolution contact data and virological data allowed us to identify a potential transmission route in each possible case of HA-Flu. This promising method should be applied for longer periods in larger populations, with more complete use of phylogenetic analyses, for a better understanding of influenza transmission dynamics in a hospital setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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