Infections with varying contact rates: application to Varicella

Whitaker, H. J. and Farrington, C. P. (2004). Infections with varying contact rates: application to Varicella. Biometrics, 60(3) pp. 615–623.



We develop methods for the analysis of infectious disease data when age-specific contact rates vary over time. Our methods are valid when contact rates vary slowly on the time scale of the infection process, and are applicable to a variety of data types including serial seroprevalence surveys and case reports. The methods exploit approximate endemic equilibria, and require numerical solution of an associated integral equation in age and time. We also estimate summary statistics such as time-dependent analogs of the basic reproduction number and critical immunization threshold. We illustrate the methods with data on varicella (chickenpox) in the United Kingdom.

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