The Contact Network of Inpatients in a Regional Healthcare System. A Longitudinal Case Study
Contact networks are extracted for 295,108 inpatients over a two-year period from a database used for administering a local public healthcare system that serves 1.8 million individuals in Stockholm county. Structural and dynamic properties of the network that are important for the transmission of contagious diseases are analyzed by methods derived from network epidemiology. The contact networks are found to be very much determined by an extreme (age-independent) variation in the duration of hospital stays and the hospital structure. The structure of contacts between inpatients are found to exhibit structural properties such as a high level of transitivity, assortativity, and variation by number of contacts, which are likely to be of importance for the transmission of less contagious diseases. If these properties are considered when designing prevention programs, the risk and effect of epidemic outbreaks may be decreased.
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Volume (Year): 14 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
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