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Study ranks social contacts by job and social group in bid to fight infectious diseases

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Posted June 26, 2013
Credit: University of Warwick

Credit: University of Warwick

In the light of Novel Corona Virus, concerns over H7N9 Influenza in S.E. Asia, and more familiar infections such as measles and seasonal influenza, it is as important as ever to be able to predict and understand how infections transmit through the UK population.

Researchers at the University of Warwick and University of Liverpool have mapped the daily contact networks of thousands of individuals to shed light on which groups may be at highest risk of contracting and spreading respiratory diseases.

These scientists used an anonymous web and postal survey of 5,027 UK residents to collect information on the types of social contact likely to lead to the transmission of respiratory infections.

The survey is believed to be the largest national study of its kind to date and allowed the scientists, for the first time, to quantify social contact patterns and how these varied with age and job.

Although it is common sense that some jobs may be associated with more social contacts, there is huge value in possessing hard data on the number and duration of social contacts as it allows the complex interactions of the UK population to be analysed mathematically in the event of an outbreak.

According to the study, children were top of the table for social contacts, making them most at-risk for catching and transmitting infection.

Read more at: Phys.org

 

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