Household crowding, social mixing patterns and respiratory symptoms in seven countries of the African meningitis belt.
- Published Article
- PLoS ONE
- Public Library of Science
- Publication Date
- Jan 01, 2014
- DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101129
- PMID: 24988195
To describe the variation in household crowding and social mixing patterns in the African meningitis belt and to assess any association with self-reported recent respiratory symptoms. In 2010, the African Meningococcal Carriage Consortium (MenAfriCar) conducted cross-sectional surveys in urban and rural areas of seven countries. The number of household members, rooms per household, attendance at social gatherings and meeting places were recorded. Associations with self-reported recent respiratory symptoms were analysed by univariate and multivariate regression models. The geometric mean people per room ranged from 1.9 to 2.8 between Ghana and Ethiopia respectively. Attendance at different types of social gatherings was variable by country, ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 per week. Those who attended 3 or more different types of social gatherings a week (frequent mixers) were more likely to be older, male (OR 1.27, p<0.001) and live in urban areas (OR 1.45, p<0.001). Frequent mixing and young age, but not increased household crowding, were associated with higher odds of self-reported respiratory symptoms (aOR 2.2, p<0.001 and OR 2.8, p<0.001 respectively). A limitation is that we did not measure school and workplace attendance. There are substantial variations in household crowding and social mixing patterns across the African meningitis belt. This study finds a clear association between age, increased social mixing and respiratory symptoms. It lays the foundation for designing and implementing more detailed studies of social contact patterns in this region.