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Identification of the relative timing of infectiousness and symptom onset for outbreak control

By Robert C. Cope, Joshua V. Ross

Posted 08 Mar 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/571547 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2019.110079)

In an outbreak of an emerging disease the epidemiological characteristics of the pathogen may be largely unknown. A key determinant of ability to control the outbreak is the relative timing of infectiousness and symptom onset. We provide a method for identifying this relationship with high accuracy based on data from household-stratified symptom-onset data. Further, this can be achieved with observations taken on only a few specific days, chosen optimally, within each household. This constitutes an important tool for outbreak response. An accurate and computationally-efficient heuristic for determining the optimal surveillance scheme is introduced. This heuristic provides a novel approach to optimal design for Bayesian model discrimination.

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