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Estimating the Risk of Influenza-Like Illness Transmission Through Social Contacts: Web-Based Participatory Cohort Study

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  • Estimating the Risk of Influenza-Like Illness Transmission Through Social Contacts: Web-Based Participatory Cohort Study

    JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2018 Apr 9;4(2):e40. doi: 10.2196/publichealth.8874.
    Estimating the Risk of Influenza-Like Illness Transmission Through Social Contacts: Web-Based Participatory Cohort Study.

    Chan TC1, Hu TH2, Hwang JS2.
    Author information

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND:

    Epidemiological studies on influenza have focused mostly on enhancing vaccination coverage or promoting personal hygiene behavior. Few studies have investigated potential effects of personal health behaviors and social contacts on the risk of getting influenza-like illness (ILI).
    OBJECTIVE:

    Taking advantage of an online participatory cohort, this study aimed to estimate the increased risk of getting ILI after contact with infected persons and examine how personal health behaviors, weather, and air pollution affect the probability of getting ILI.
    METHODS:

    A Web-based platform was designed for participants to record daily health behaviors and social contacts during the influenza season of October 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, in Taiwan. Data on sleep, diet, physical activity, self-reported ILI, and contact with infected persons were retrieved from the diaries. Measurements of weather and air pollutants were used for calculating environmental exposure levels for the participants. We fitted a mixed-effects logistic regression model to the daily measurements of the diary keepers to estimate the effects of these variables on the risk of getting ILI.
    RESULTS:

    During the influenza season, 160 participants provided 14,317 health diaries and recorded 124,222 face-to-face contacts. The model estimated odds ratio of getting ILI was 1.87 (95% CI 1.40-2.50) when a person had contact with others having ILI in the previous 3 days. Longer duration of physical exercise and eating more fruits, beans, and dairy products were associated with lower risk of getting ILI. However, staying up late was linked to an elevated risk of getting ILI. Higher variation of ambient temperature and worse air quality were associated with increased risk of developing ILI.
    CONCLUSIONS:

    Developing a healthier lifestyle, avoiding contact with persons having ILI symptoms, and staying alert with respect to temperature changes and air quality can reduce the risk of getting ILI.
    ŠTa-Chien Chan, Tsuey-Hwa Hu, Jing-Shiang Hwang. Originally published in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance (http://publichealth.jmir.org), 09.04.2018.


    KEYWORDS:

    contact diary; diet; exercise; flu transmission; sleep quality; social networks

    PMID: 29631987 DOI: 10.2196/publichealth.8874
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