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MIDAS uses ABM to examine if population structure is sufficient to generate area-level inequalities in influenza rates

RR adults

In New Haven County (NHC), CT, influenza hospitalization rates have been shown to increase with census tract poverty in multiple influenza seasons. In what is, to our knowledge, the first use of simulation models to examine the causes of differential poverty-related influenza rates, researchers in the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory used agent-based models with a census-informed, realistic representation of household size, age-structure, population density in NHC census tracts, and contact rates in workplaces, schools, households, and neighborhoods, and measured poverty-related differential influenza attack rates over the course of an epidemic. Simulated attack rates among adults increased with census tract poverty level. The study detected a steeper, earlier influenza rate increase in high-poverty census tracts, a finding that was corroborated with a temporal analysis of NHC surveillance data during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The ratio of the simulated adult AR in the highest- to lowest-poverty tracts was 33% of the ratio observed in surveillance data, leaving 67% of the inequality to be explained by other factors. Future models should quantify the capacity of individual behavioral and biological factors to generate influenza inequalities thus allowing us to prioritize interventions aimed at factors with the greatest explanatory power.

Read the paper at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/15/947

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