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Combining High-Resolution Contact Data with Virological Data to Investigate Influenza Transmission in a Tertiary Care Hospital

  • Nicolas Voirin (a1) (a2), Cécile Payet (a1) (a2), Alain Barrat (a3) (a4), Ciro Cattuto (a4), Nagham Khanafer (a1) (a2), Corinne Régis (a2), Byeul-a Kim (a5), Brigitte Comte (a5), Jean-Sébastien Casalegno (a2) (a6) (a7), Bruno Lina (a2) (a6) (a7) and Philippe Vanhems (a1) (a2)...



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.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2015;00(0): 1–7


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Dr. Nicolas Voirin, Service d’Hygiène, Epidémiologie et Prévention, Unité Epidémiologie et Biomarqueurs de l'Infection, Hôpital Edouard Herriot, Hospices Civils de Lyon; Equipe Epidémiologie et Santé Publique, Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Université de Lyon; Université Lyon 1; CNRS, UMR 5558, 5, place d'Arsonval, 69437 Lyon cedex 03 (


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