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Thinking clearly about social aspects of infectious disease transmission
July 2 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Buckee’s session will be preceded by presentations by Duncan Watts, Jake Hofman, David Lazer, Claudia Wagner, and Mirta Galesic.
Social and cultural forces shape almost every aspect of infectious disease transmission in human populations, as well as our ability to measure, understand, and respond to epidemics. For directly transmitted infections, pathogen transmission relies on human-to-human contact, with kinship, household and societal structures shaping contact patterns that in turn determine epidemic dynamics. In addition to these human contact patterns, social, economic and cultural forces also shape patterns of exposure, health-seeking behaviours, infection outcomes, the likelihood of diagnosis and reporting of cases and the uptake of interventions. Although these social aspects of infectious disease epidemiology are difficult to quantify and have limited the generalizability of modelling frameworks in a policy context, new sources of data on relevant aspects of human behaviour are increasingly available. Integrating local social contexts into the design and interpretation of model frameworks using new ‘big data’ and more traditional data streams offers the possibility of both policy-relevant models for public health decision-making, as well as the development of robust generalizable theories about human behaviour in relation to infectious disease ecology and transmission.