Learning the Probability of Activation in the Presence of Latent Spreaders


  • Maggie Makar MIT
  • John Guttag MIT
  • Jenna Wiens University of Michigan, Ann Arbor




healthcare, infectious diseases, probabilistic graphical model, variational inference


When an infection spreads in a community, an individual's probability of becoming infected depends on both her susceptibility and exposure to the contagion through contact with others. While one often has knowledge regarding an individual's susceptibility, in many cases, whether or not an individual's contacts are contagious is unknown.We study the problem of predicting if an individual will adopt a contagion in the presence of multiple modes of infection (exposure/susceptibility) and latent neighbor influence. We present a generative probabilistic model and a variational inference method to learn the parameters of our model. Through a series of experiments on synthetic data, we measure the ability of the proposed model to identify latent spreaders, and predict the risk of infection. Applied to a real dataset of 20,000 hospital patients, we demonstrate the utility of our model in predicting the onset of a healthcare associated infection using patient room-sharing and nurse-sharing networks. Our model outperforms existing benchmarks and provides actionable insights for the design and implementation of targeted interventions to curb the spread of infection.




How to Cite

Makar, M., Guttag, J., & Wiens, J. (2018). Learning the Probability of Activation in the Presence of Latent Spreaders. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 32(1). https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v32i1.11305