How do infections in institutions where infections are rapidly spread affect the emergence of infections in the greater population?
What we found
The study model evaluated the impact of an institution using epidemiological weight (EW), the rate at which infected people enter a given population for the first time. A hypothetical hospital and prison were found to have nearly equal EWs, suggesting that these facilities are equally likely to cause an epidemic in the community. The EW can be a useful tool for institutions if they are willing to monitor on all individuals who enter and exit the facility.
Why it matters
The EW model generated in this study provides a way of understanding which institutions and even subpopulations within institutions are the most likely to transmit disease, knowledge that could help healthcare professionals allocate resources in a way that will most effectively quell infection.