Sensitivity of Household Transmission to Household Contact Structure and Size
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Objective: Study the influence of household contact structure on the spread of an influenza-like illness. Examine whether changes to in-home care giving arrangements can significantly affect the household transmission counts. Method: We simulate two different behaviors for the symptomatic person; either s/he remains at home in contact with everyone else in the household or s/he remains at home in contact with only the primary caregiver in the household. The two different cases are referred to as full mixing and single caregiver, respectively. Results: The results show that the household’s cumulative transmission count is lower in case of a single caregiver configuration than in the full mixing case. The household transmissions vary almost linearly with the household size in both single caregiver and full mixing cases. However the difference in household transmissions due to the difference in household structure grows with the household size especially in case of moderate flu. Conclusions: These results suggest that details about human behavior and household structure do matter in epidemiological models. The policy of home isolation of the sick has significant effect on the household transmission count depending upon the household size.