An Isaac Newton Institute Workshop

Stochastic Computation for the Analysis of Ecological and Epidemiological Data

Statistical inference for epidemics among a population of households

Author: Ball, F (Nottingham)


This talk is concerned with a stochastic model for the spread of an SIR (susceptible $\to$ infective $\to$ removed) epidemic among a closed, finite population that contains several types of individual and is partitioned into households. A pseudolikelihood framework is presented for making statistical inference about the parameters governing such epidemics from final outcome data, when possibly only some of the households in the population are observed. The framework includes parameter estimation, hypothesis tests and goodness-of-fit. Asymptotic properties of the procedures are derived when the number of households in both the sample and the population are large, which correctly account for dependencies between households. The methodology is illustrated by applications to data on a \emph{variola minor} outbreak in Sao Paulo and to data on influenza outbreaks in Tecumseh, Michigan.