Representing Tuberculosis Transmission with Complex Contagion: An Agent-Based Simulation Modeling Approach


A recent study reported a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak in which, among newly infected individuals, exposure to additional active infections was associated with a higher probability of developing active disease. Referred to as complex contagion, multiple reexposures to TB within a short period after initial infection is hypothesized to confer a greater likelihood of developing active infection. The purpose of this article is to develop and validate an agent-based simulation model (ABM) to study the effect of complex contagion on population-level TB transmission dynamics. We built an ABM of a TB epidemic using data from a series of outbreaks recorded in the 20th century in Saskatchewan, Canada. We fit 3 dynamical schemes: base, with no complex contagion; additive, in which each reexposure confers an independent risk of activated infection; and threshold, in which a small number of reexposures confers a low risk and a high number of reexposures confers a high risk of activation.

Medical Decision Making