The spread of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in England was characterized by two major waves of infections: the first one was highly spatially localized (mainly in the London area), while the second one spread homogeneously through the entire country. The reasons behind this complex spatiotemporal dynamics have yet to be clarified. In this study, we perform a Bayesian analysis of five models entailing different hypotheses on the possible determinants of the observed pattern. We find a consensus among all models in showing a surprisingly low transmission distance (defined as the geographic distance between the place of residence of the infectors and her/his infectees) during the first wave: about 1.5 km (2.2 km if infections linked to household and school transmission are excluded). The best-fitting model entails a change in human activity regarding contacts not related to household and school. By using this model we estimate that the transmission distance sharply increased to 5.3 km (10 km when excluding infections linked to household and school transmission) during the second wave. Our study reveals a possible explanation for the observed pattern and highlights the need of better understanding human mobility and activity patterns under the pressure posed by a pandemic threat.

Detecting a Surprisingly Low Transmission Distance in the Early Phase of the 2009 Influenza Pandemic

Marziano, Valentina;Merler, Stefano;Ajelli, Marco
2017

Abstract

The spread of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in England was characterized by two major waves of infections: the first one was highly spatially localized (mainly in the London area), while the second one spread homogeneously through the entire country. The reasons behind this complex spatiotemporal dynamics have yet to be clarified. In this study, we perform a Bayesian analysis of five models entailing different hypotheses on the possible determinants of the observed pattern. We find a consensus among all models in showing a surprisingly low transmission distance (defined as the geographic distance between the place of residence of the infectors and her/his infectees) during the first wave: about 1.5 km (2.2 km if infections linked to household and school transmission are excluded). The best-fitting model entails a change in human activity regarding contacts not related to household and school. By using this model we estimate that the transmission distance sharply increased to 5.3 km (10 km when excluding infections linked to household and school transmission) during the second wave. Our study reveals a possible explanation for the observed pattern and highlights the need of better understanding human mobility and activity patterns under the pressure posed by a pandemic threat.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11582/311473
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