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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 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


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