Close encounters of the infectious kind: methods to measure social mixing behaviour

Epidemiol Infect. 2012 Dec;140(12):2117-30. doi: 10.1017/S0950268812000842. Epub 2012 Jun 12.


A central tenet of close-contact or respiratory infection epidemiology is that infection patterns within human populations are related to underlying patterns of social interaction. Until recently, few researchers had attempted to quantify potentially infectious encounters made between people. Now, however, several studies have quantified social mixing behaviour, using a variety of methods. Here, we review the methodologies employed, suggest other appropriate methods and technologies, and outline future research challenges for this rapidly advancing field of research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contact Tracing
  • Humans
  • Mathematical Concepts
  • Radio Frequency Identification Device
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / transmission*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Participation*