Honorable Mention

In Search of Patient Zero: Visual Analytics of Pathogen Transmission Pathways in Hospitals

Tom Baumgartl, Markus Petzold, Marcel Wunderlich, Markus Höhn, Daniel Archambault, Michael Lieser, Alexander Dalpke, Simone Scheithauer, Michael Marschollek, Vanessa Eichel, Nico T. Mutters, Tatiana von Landesberger

View presentation: 2020-10-30T14:45:00Z GMT-0600 Change your timezone on the schedule page
Exemplar figure
Transmission pathway tracing interface. 1. The Epidemic Curve View shows the number of infected patients. 2. The Contact Network View shows patient contacts as a network. 3. The Transmission Pathway View shows contacts and infection status. Tracing interaction shows potential infection transmission events. 4. Patient event details are shown in Patient Timeline View.
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Direct link to video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Y3fGnxKLFIM


dynamic networks, visualization applications, health, medicine, outbreak, Klebsiella, infection control


Pathogen outbreaks (i.e., outbreaks of bacteria and viruses) in hospitals can cause high mortality rates and increase costs for hospitals significantly. An outbreak is generally noticed when the number of infected patients rises above an endemic level or the usual prevalence of a pathogen in a defined population. Reconstructing transmission pathways back to the source of an outbreak – the patient zero or index patient – requires the analysis of microbiological data and patient contacts. This is often manually completed by infection control experts. We present a novel visual analytics approach to support the analysis of transmission pathways, patient contacts, progression of the outbreak, and patient timelines during hospitalization. Infection control experts applied our solution to a real outbreak of Klebsiella pneumoniae in a large German hospital. Using our system, our experts were able to scale the analysis of transmission pathways to longer time intervals (i.e., several years of data instead of days) and across a larger number of wards. Also, the system is able to reduce the analysis time from days to hours. In our final study, feedback from twenty-five experts from seven German hospitals provides evidence that our solution brings significant benefits for analyzing outbreaks.