A Hybrid EM and Monte Carlo EM Algorithm and Its Application to Analysis of Transmission of Infectious Diseases
Article first published online: 16 APR 2012
© 2012, The International Biometric Society
Volume 68, Issue 4, pages 1238–1249, December 2012
How to Cite
Yang, Y., Longini Jr., I. M., Halloran, M. E. and Obenchain, V. (2012), A Hybrid EM and Monte Carlo EM Algorithm and Its Application to Analysis of Transmission of Infectious Diseases. Biometrics, 68: 1238–1249. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-0420.2012.01757.x
- Issue published online: 21 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 16 APR 2012
- Received August 2011. Revised January 2012. Accepted January 2012.
- Data augmentation;
- EM algorithm;
- Infectious disease;
- Missing data;
- Monte Carlo
Summary In epidemics of infectious diseases such as influenza, an individual may have one of four possible final states: prior immune, escaped from infection, infected with symptoms, and infected asymptomatically. The exact state is often not observed. In addition, the unobserved transmission times of asymptomatic infections further complicate analysis. Under the assumption of missing at random, data-augmentation techniques can be used to integrate out such uncertainties. We adapt an importance-sampling-based Monte Carlo Expectation-Maximization (MCEM) algorithm to the setting of an infectious disease transmitted in close contact groups. Assuming the independence between close contact groups, we propose a hybrid EM-MCEM algorithm that applies the MCEM or the traditional EM algorithms to each close contact group depending on the dimension of missing data in that group, and discuss the variance estimation for this practice. In addition, we propose a bootstrap approach to assess the total Monte Carlo error and factor that error into the variance estimation. The proposed methods are evaluated using simulation studies. We use the hybrid EM-MCEM algorithm to analyze two influenza epidemics in the late 1970s to assess the effects of age and preseason antibody levels on the transmissibility and pathogenicity of the viruses.