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Social mixing patterns for transmission models of close contact infections: exploring self-evaluation and diary-based data collection through a web-based interface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2006

P. BEUTELS
Affiliation:
Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination, Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Antwerp, Belgium National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, University of Sydney, Australia
Z. SHKEDY
Affiliation:
Centre for Statistics, Biostatistics, Hasselt University, Belgium
M. AERTS
Affiliation:
Centre for Statistics, Biostatistics, Hasselt University, Belgium
P. VAN DAMME
Affiliation:
Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination, Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Antwerp, Belgium
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Abstract

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Although mixing patterns are crucial in dynamic transmission models of close contact infections, they are largely estimated by intuition. Using a convenience sample (n=73), we tested self-evaluation and prospective diary surveys with a web-based interface, in order to obtain social contact data. The number of recorded contacts was significantly (P<0·01) greater on workdays (18·1) vs. weekend days (12·3) for conversations, and vice versa for touching (5·4 and 7·2 respectively). Mixing was highly assortative with age for both (adults contacting other adults vs. 0- to 5-year-olds, odds ratio 8·9–10·8). Respondents shared a closed environment significantly more often with >20 other adults than with >20 children. The difference in number of contacts per day was non-significant between self-evaluation and diary (P=0·619 for conversations, P=0·125 for touching). We conclude that self-evaluation could yield similar results to diary surveys for general or very recent mixing information. More detailed data could be collected by diary, at little effort to respondents.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2006 Cambridge University Press
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