Structural differences in mixing behavior informing the role of asymptomatic infection and testing symptom heritability.

Santermans, E; Van Kerckhove, K; Azmon, A; John Edmunds, W; Beutels, P; Faes, C; Hens, N; (2016) Structural differences in mixing behavior informing the role of asymptomatic infection and testing symptom heritability. Mathematical biosciences, 285. pp. 43-54. ISSN 0025-5564 DOI:

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: Most infectious disease data is obtained from disease surveillance which is based on observations of symptomatic cases only. However, many infectious diseases are transmitted before the onset of symptoms or without developing symptoms at all throughout the entire disease course, referred to as asymptomatic transmission. Fraser and colleagues [1] showed that this type of transmission plays a key role in assessing the feasibility of intervention measures in controlling an epidemic outbreak. To account for asymptomatic transmission in epidemic models, methods often rely on assumptions that cannot be verified given the data at hand. The present study aims at assessing the contribution of social contact data from asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals in quantifying the contribution of (a)symptomatic infections. We use a mathematical model based on ordinary differential equations (ODE) and a likelihood-based approach followed by Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) to estimate the model parameters and their uncertainty. Incidence data on influenza-like illness in the initial phase of the 2009 A/H1N1pdm epidemic is used to illustrate that it is possible to estimate either the proportion of asymptomatic infections or the relative infectiousness of symptomatic versus asymptomatic infectives. Further, we introduce a model in which the chance of developing symptoms depends on the disease state of the person that transmitted the infection. In conclusion, incorporating social contact data from both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals allows inferring on parameters associated with asymptomatic infection based on disease data from symptomatic cases only.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 28027885
Web of Science ID: 394066400004

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