Background: There are critical questions and knowledge gaps concerning modes of transmission of acute respiratory infections (ARI) including influenza and the factors that influence transmission risk in communities and illness severity. Illness severity and transmission risk can be affected by host’s socio-behavioral and physical environment, host defense mechanisms and virulence of the infectious agents. Uncertainties remain, however, with respect to the relative importance and role of each of these factors. A thorough understanding of these requires highly enhanced epidemiological surveillance data from a comprehensive study design.
Objectives: 1. To identify cases with a high and low probability of transmission while controlling for variability in CO2 concentration. 2. To identify contacts with high susceptibility and describe their phenotype. 3. To evaluate how much of an influence the environmental conditions have on the above.
Approach: We recruited a cohort of UMD college dormitory students and closely monitored their social and physical environment, gene expression, and microbiome of ARI cases. For each of the identified cases, we recruited up to 4 contacts and closely monitored them to identify secondary transmission events while also monitoring their social, physical, gene expression and microbiome.
Results: Still being computed
Importance to public health: The study design offers a unique method of studying ARI transmission because unlike other transmission studies, it precisely mimics conditions encountered in real life transmission events.