"A model of population dynamics with complex household structure and mobility: implications for transmission and control of communicable diseases"
Households are known to be high-risk locations for the transmission of communicable diseases. Numerous modelling studies have demonstrated the important role of households in sustaining both communicable diseases outbreaks and endemic transmission, and as the focus for control efforts. However, these studies typically assume that households are associated with a single dwelling and have static membership. This assumption does not appropriately reflect households in some populations, such as those in remote Australian Indigenous communities, which can be distributed across more than one physical dwelling, leading to the occupancy of individual dwellings changing rapidly over time. In this study, we developed an individual-based model of an infectious disease outbreak in communities with demographic and household structure reflective of a remote Australian Indigenous community. We used the model to compare the dynamics of unmitigated outbreaks, and outbreaks constrained by a household-focused prophylaxis intervention, in communities exhibiting fluid versus stable dwelling occupancy. Our findings suggest that fluid dwelling occupancy can lead to larger and faster outbreaks, interfere with the effectiveness of household-focused interventions, and may contribute to the considerable burden of communicable diseases in communities exhibiting this type of structure.