Patterns of human social contact and contact with animals in Shanghai, China

Juanjuan Zhang, Petra Klepac, Jonathan M. Read, Alicia Rosello, Xiling Wang, Shengjie Lai, Meng Li, Yujian Song, Qingzhen Wei, Hao Jiang, Juan Yang, Henry Lynn, Stefan Flasche, Mark Jit, Hongjie Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Citations (Scopus)


    East Asia is as a principal hotspot for emerging zoonotic infections. Understanding the likely pathways for their emergence and spread requires knowledge on human-human and human-animal contacts, but such studies are rare. We used self-completed and interviewer-completed contact diaries to quantify patterns of these contacts for 965 individuals in 2017/2018 in a high-income densely-populated area of China, Shanghai City. Interviewer-completed diaries recorded more social contacts (19.3 vs. 18.0) and longer social contact duration (35.0 vs. 29.1 hours) than self-reporting. Strong age-assortativity was observed in all age groups especially among young participants (aged 7–20) and middle aged participants (25–55 years). 17.7% of participants reported touching animals (15.3% (pets), 0.0% (poultry) and 0.1% (livestock)). Human-human contact was very frequent but contact with animals (especially poultry) was rare although associated with frequent human-human contact. Hence, this densely populated area is more likely to act as an accelerator for human-human spread but less likely to be at the source of a zoonosis outbreak. We also propose that telephone interview at the end of reporting day is a potential improvement of the design of future contact surveys.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number15141
    JournalScientific Reports
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    We thank staff members of local Centers for Disease Control and prevention (Shanghai City, Huangpu District, Xuhui District, and Changning District), community health centers, and neighborhood committees for providing assistance with administration and data collection. This research was funded by the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (81525023), the National Science and Technology Major Project of China (2018ZX10201001-010), and the Program of Shanghai Academic/Technology Research Leader (18XD1400300). P.K., A.R., S.F., and M.J. are funded by the National Institute of Health Research using Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding (16/137/109). The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health. S.F. is also supported by a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society (208812/Z/17/Z). S.L. is supported by the grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2016ZX10004222-009) and the National Natural Science Fund of China (81773498).

    Funding Information:
    H.Y. has received investigator-initiated research funding from Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline, and Yichang HEC Changjiang Pharmaceutical Company. Other authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2019, The Author(s).


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