Predictive models of control strategies involved in containing indoor airborne infections

  • Chen S
  • Chang C
  • Liao C
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Recently developed control measure modeling approaches for containing airborne infections, including engineering controls with respiratory protection and public health interventions, are readily amenable to an integrated-scale analysis. Here we show that such models can be derived from an integrated-scale analysis generated from three different types of functional relationship: Wells-Riley mathematical model, competing-risks model, and Von Foerster equation, both of the key epidemiological determinants involved and of the functional connections between them. We examine mathematically the impact of engineering control measures such as enhanced air exchange and air filtration rates with personal masking combined with public health interventions such as vaccination, isolation, and contact tracing in containing the spread of indoor airborne infections including influenza, chickenpox, measles, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). If enhanced engineering controls could reduce the basic reproductive number (R0) below 1.60 for chickenpox and 3 for measles, our simulations show that in such a prepared response with public health interventions would have a high probability of containing the indoor airborne infections. Combinations of engineering control measures and public health interventions could moderately contain influenza strains with an R0 as high as 4. Our analysis indicates that effective isolation of symptomatic patients with low-efficacy contact tracing is sufficient to control a SARS outbreak. We suggest that a valuable added dimension to public health inventions could be provided by systematically quantifying transmissibility and proportion of asymptomatic infection of indoor airborne infection. Practical Implications We have developed a flexible mathematical model that can help determine the best intervention strategies for containing indoor airborne infections. The approach presented here is scalable and can be extended to include additional control efficacies. If a newly emergent airborne infection should appear, the model could be quickly calibrated to data and intervention options at the early stage of the outbreak. Data could be provided from the field to estimate value of R0, the serial interval between cases, the distributions of the latent, incubation, and infectious periods, case fatality rates, and secondary spread within important mixing groups. The combination of enhanced engineering control measures and assigned effective public health interventions would have a high probability for containing airborne infection.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Asymptomatic Infection
  • Basic Reproductive Number
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Indoor Airborne Infection
  • Mathematical Models

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