Control of Epidemics on Hospital Networks
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The spread of hospital-related infections such as antibiotic-resistant pathogens forms a major challenge in public healthcare systems world-wide. One of the driving mechanisms of the pathogen spread are referrals or transfers of patients (hosts) between hospitals or readmissions after their stay in the community, constituting a dynamical network of hospitals. We analyze referral patterns of 1 million patients from one Federal State in Germany over the period of three years. We extract the underlying statistics of relocation patterns and build an agent-based computational model of pathogen spread. We simulate an outbreak of an SIS-type infection (susceptible-infected-susceptible) and evaluate characteristic time scales and prevalence levels. For such recurrent diseases, we finally investigate the effect of control measures based on screening and isolation of incoming patients.
KeywordsPrevalence Level Hospital Size Hospital Network Incoming Patient Pathogen Spread
All the authors acknowledge the courtesy of the AOK Niedersachsen for providing the anonymized data on patient referrals. VB thanks André Karch and Johannes Horn for fruitful discussions. VB and PH acknowledge funding by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in the framework of Collaborative Research Center 910. At the early stage of this study VB was financially supported by the fellowship “Computational sciences” of the VolkswagenStiftung.
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