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Estimating the secondary attack rate and serial interval of influenza-like illnesses using social media

Yom-Tov, E; Johansson-Cox, I; Lampos, V; Hayward, AC; (2015) Estimating the secondary attack rate and serial interval of influenza-like illnesses using social media. Influenza Other Respir Viruses , 9 (4) pp. 191-199. 10.1111/irv.12321. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Knowledge of the secondary attack rate (SAR) and serial interval (SI) of influenza is important for assessing the severity of seasonal epidemics of the virus. To date, such estimates have required extensive surveys of target populations. Here, we propose a method for estimating the intrafamily SAR and SI from postings on the Twitter social network. This estimate is derived from a large number of people reporting ILI symptoms in them and\or their immediate family members. DESIGN: We analyze data from the 2012-2013 and the 2013-2014 influenza seasons in England and find that increases in the estimated SAR precede increases in ILI rates reported by physicians. RESULTS: We hypothesize that observed variations in the peak value of SAR are related to the appearance of specific strains of the virus and demonstrate this by comparing the changes in SAR values over time in relation to known virology. In addition, we estimate SI (the average time between cases) as 2·41 days for 2012 and 2·48 days for 2013. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed method can assist health authorities by providing near-real-time estimation of SAR and SI, and especially in alerting to sudden increases thereof.

Type: Article
Title: Estimating the secondary attack rate and serial interval of influenza-like illnesses using social media
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/irv.12321
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/irv.12321
Additional information: © 2015 The Authors. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Influenza-like illness, secondary attack rate, social media, England, Humans, Incidence, Influenza, Human, Seasons, Social Media, Social Support
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1476699
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