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Contact studies 

Contact studies
Chapter:
Contact studies
Author(s):

Ken Eames

and Charlotte Jackson

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198719830.003.0015
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date: 25 February 2020

Many infectious disease transmission models require assumptions about how individuals contact one another. Until relatively recently, these assumptions were rarely based on empirical data, but there is now increasing interest in collecting data that can inform such models. This chapter describes the methods available for measuring contacts that are relevant to the transmission of sexually transmitted and respiratory infections, including diaries, questionnaires, and modern electronic methods. It considers and contrasts alternative approaches, including measuring contact networks versus mixing between subgroups, and individual behaviour versus population contact patterns. It discusses the applicability, advantages, and limitations of the various methods of collecting contact data, and provides examples of the use of such data to guide public health policy. Key considerations for the design, conduct, and interpretation of contact studies are highlighted.

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