The dynamics of infectious diseases caused by pathogens transmissible from human to human strongly depends on contact patterns between individuals. High quality observational data on contact patterns, usually presented in the form of age-specific contact matrices, are difficult to gather and are currently available only for few countries worldwide. Here we propose a computational approach, based on the simulation of a virtual society of agents, allowing the estimation of contact patterns by age for 26 European countries.
Fumanelli L, Ajelli M, Manfredi P, Vespignani A, Merler S (2012) Inferring the Structure of Social Contacts from Demographic Data in the Analysis of Infectious Diseases Spread. PLoS Comput Biol 8(9): e1002673. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002673