Contact Mixing Patterns and Population Movement among Migrant Workers in an Urban Setting in Thailand.
Mahikul W., Kripattanapong S., Hanvoravongchai P., Meeyai A., Iamsirithaworn S., Auewarakul P., Pan-Ngum W.
Data relating to contact mixing patterns among humans are essential for the accurate modeling of infectious disease transmission dynamics. Here, we describe contact mixing patterns among migrant workers in urban settings in Thailand, based on a survey of 369 migrant workers of three nationalities. Respondents recorded their demographic data, including age, sex, nationality, workplace, income, and education. Each respondent chose a single day to record their contacts; this resulted in a total of more than 8300 contacts. The characteristics of contacts were recorded, including their age, sex, nationality, location of contact, and occurrence of physical contact. More than 75% of all contacts occurred among migrants aged 15 to 39 years. The contacts were highly clustered in this age group among migrant workers of all three nationalities. There were far fewer contacts between migrant workers with younger and older age groups. The pattern varied slightly among different nationalities, which was mostly dependent upon the types of jobs taken. Half of migrant workers always returned to their home country at most once a year and on a seasonal basis. The present study has helped us gain a better understanding of contact mixing patterns among migrant workers in urban settings. This information is useful both when simulating disease epidemics and for guiding optimal disease control strategies among this vulnerable section of the population.