Using video-analysis technology to estimate social mixing and simulate influenza transmission at a mass gathering

Mass gatherings create settings conducive to infectious disease transmission. Empirical data to model infectious disease transmission at mass gatherings are limited. Video-analysis technology could be used to generate data on social mixing patterns needed for simulating influenza transmission at mass gatherings. We analyzed short video recordings of persons attending the GameFest event at a university in Troy, New York, in April 2013 to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. Attendees were identified and tracked during three randomly selected time periods using an object-tracking algorithm. Tracks were analyzed to calculate the number and duration of unique pairwise contacts. A contact occurred each time two attendees were within 2 m of each other. We built and tested an agent-based stochastic influenza simulation model assuming two scenarios of mixing patterns in a geospatially accurate representation of the event venue -one calibrated to the mean cumulative contact duration estimated from GameFest video recordings and the other using a uniform mixing pattern. We compared one-hour attack rates (i.e., becoming infected) generated from these two scenarios following the introduction of a single infectious seed. Across the video recordings, 278 attendees were identified and tracked, resulting in 1,247 unique pairwise contacts with a cumulative mean contact duration of 74.76 s (SD: 80.71). The one-hour simulated mean attack rates were 2.17 % (95 % CI:1.45 - 2.82) and 0.21 % (95 % CI: 0.14 - 0.28) in the calibrated and uniform mixing model scenarios, respectively. We simulated influenza transmission at the GameFest event using social mixing data objectively captured through video-analysis technology. Microlevel geospatially accurate simulations can be used to assess the layout of event venues on social mixing and disease transmission. Future work can expand on this demonstration project to larger spatial and temporal scenes in more diverse settings.