In Summary
  • The study tracked the digital and physical contacts of more than 500 university students.

  • It concluded that people who are central in their digital networks are also central in their real-life human networks.

  • The goal of vaccination is to reduce the size of the population at risk of infection.

PARIS

Facebook accounts and telephone records can be used to pinpoint the best individuals to vaccinate to stop a disease outbreak in its tracks, researchers said Wednesday.

Such people would be "central" in their social networks, and thus likelier to spread disease-causing germs from one group to another.

Assuming there is an outbreak, and not enough vaccines for every person in the world, immunising these well-connected individuals would remove social "bridges" by which germs can spread, experts wrote in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

The study, which tracked the digital and physical contacts of more than 500 university students, concluded that people who are central in their digital networks are also central in their real-life human networks.

BRIDGE

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