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Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(10): 2016-2026, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2103284

ABSTRACT

Data on social contact patterns are widely used to parameterize age-mixing matrices in mathematical models of infectious diseases. Most studies focus on close contacts only (i.e., persons spoken with face-to-face). This focus may be appropriate for studies of droplet and short-range aerosol transmission but neglects casual or shared air contacts, who may be at risk from airborne transmission. Using data from 2 provinces in South Africa, we estimated age mixing patterns relevant for droplet transmission, nonsaturating airborne transmission, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission, an airborne infection where saturation of household contacts occurs. Estimated contact patterns by age did not vary greatly between the infection types, indicating that widespread use of close contact data may not be resulting in major inaccuracies. However, contact in persons >50 years of age was lower when we considered casual contacts, and therefore the contribution of older age groups to airborne transmission may be overestimated.


Subject(s)
Mycobacterium tuberculosis , Respiratory Aerosols and Droplets , Aerosols , Models, Theoretical , South Africa/epidemiology
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