Bayesian Inference for Contact Networks Given Epidemic Data


Chris Groendyke, Department of Statistics, Pennsylvania State University, 333 Thomas Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Abstract.  In this article, we estimate the parameters of a simple random network and a stochastic epidemic on that network using data consisting of recovery times of infected hosts. The SEIR epidemic model we fit has exponentially distributed transmission times with Gamma distributed exposed and infectious periods on a network where every edge exists with the same probability, independent of other edges. We employ a Bayesian framework and Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) integration to make estimates of the joint posterior distribution of the model parameters. We discuss the accuracy of the parameter estimates under various prior assumptions and show that it is possible in many scientifically interesting cases to accurately recover the parameters. We demonstrate our approach by studying a measles outbreak in Hagelloch, Germany, in 1861 consisting of 188 affected individuals. We provide an R package to carry out these analyses, which is available publicly on the Comprehensive R Archive Network.