Validation of a Stochastic Discrete Event Model Predicting Virus Concentration on Nurse Hands

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2 Scopus citations


Understanding healthcare viral disease transmission and the effect of infection control interventions will inform current and future infection control protocols. In this study, a model was developed to predict virus concentration on nurses’ hands using data from a bacteriophage tracer study conducted in Tucson, Arizona, in an urgent care facility. Surfaces were swabbed 2 hours, 3.5 hours, and 6 hours postseeding to measure virus spread over time. To estimate the full viral load that would have been present on hands without sampling, virus concentrations were summed across time points for 3.5- and 6-hour measurements. A stochastic discrete event model was developed to predict virus concentrations on nurses’ hands, given a distribution of virus concentrations on surfaces and expected frequencies of hand-to-surface and orifice contacts and handwashing. Box plots and statistical hypothesis testing were used to compare the model-predicted and experimentally measured virus concentrations on nurses’ hands. The model was validated with the experimental bacteriophage tracer data because the distribution for model-predicted virus concentrations on hands captured all observed value ranges, and interquartile ranges for model and experimental values overlapped for all comparison time points. Wilcoxon rank sum tests showed no significant differences in distributions of model-predicted and experimentally measured virus concentrations on hands. However, limitations in the tracer study indicate that more data are needed to instill more confidence in this validation. Next model development steps include addressing viral concentrations that would be found naturally in healthcare environments and measuring the risk reductions predicted for various infection control interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1812-1824
Number of pages13
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Bacteriophage
  • exposure simulation
  • healthcare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)

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