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Effect of modelling slum populations on influenza spread in Delhi.

Abstract

This research studies the impact of influenza epidemic in the slum and non-slum areas of Delhi, the National Capital Territory of India, by taking proper account of slum demographics and residents' activities, using a highly resolved social contact network of the 13.8 million residents of Delhi.

Slum populations have a significant effect on influenza transmission in urban areas. Improper specification of slums in large urban regions results in underestimation of infections in the entire population and hence will lead to misguided interventions by policy planners.

Differences between the epidemic outcomes on the two networks are large. Time-to-peak infection is overestimated by several weeks, and the cumulative infection rate and peak infection rate are underestimated by 10-50%, when slum attributes are ignored.

An SEIR model is used to simulate the spread of influenza on two different synthetic social contact networks of Delhi, one where slums and non-slums are treated the same in terms of their demographics and daily sets of activities and the other, where slum and non-slum regions have different attributes.

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