Investigating Cholera Transmission Using Social Networks and Space in Rural Bangladesh

Sophia Giebultowicz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research shows that social networks can function as a means of disease transmission. Within such “transmission networks,” a parasitic agent or infection is transferred via links between nodes; examples include diffusion of sexually transmitted infections or communicable diseases. This study examines the transmission of cholera as a result of social networks amongst households in rural Bangladesh. Furthermore, it incorporates geographic distance into the network to analyze the effects of space on transmission dynamics. Using ten years of demographic and cholera data from a longitudinal survey conducted in Matlab, Bangladesh, social networks are constructed to assess how individual cholera incidence is affected by these linkages. GIS is also used to incorporate geographic distance and potentially additional environmental variables to examine the effects of space on networks and cholera transmission. The main hypothesis is that connectivity to individuals with cholera is positively related to cholera occurrence, but that distance modifies these effects.

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Presented in Poster Session 7