`epicontacts` Class: Details Regarding the Data Structure for `epicontacts` Objects

opts_chunk$set(message=FALSE, warning=FALSE, eval=TRUE, echo=TRUE)

The epicontacts data structure is useful for epidemiological network analysis of cases and contacts. Data partitioned as line list and contact list formats can be coerced to the epicontacts class in order to facilitate manipulation, visualization and analysis.

Using a simulated ebola outbreak dataset from the outbreaks package, this vignette will explore how to create an epicontacts object and use several generic methods to work with the data.


make_epicontacts() creates the epicontacts data structure. The function accepts arguments for:

Before creating an epicontacts object, it may be helpful to examine the structure of the line list and contact data. The example that follows uses the ebola_sim data loaded from the outbreaks package.



ebola_sim is a list with two data frames, which contain the line list and contacts respectively. The line list data frame already has a unique identifier for cases in the first column, and the contacts data has the individual contacts represented in the first and second columns. Note that if the input data were not formatted as such, the id, from and to arguments allow for explicit definition of the columns that contain these attributes.

Assuming this network of contacts is directed, the following call to make_epicontacts will generate an epicontacts object:

x <- make_epicontacts(linelist = ebola_sim$linelist, contacts = ebola_sim$contacts, directed = TRUE)

Use class() to confirm that make_epicontacts() worked:


epicontacts objets are at their core list objects.


As with other lists, the named elements of the epicontacts data structure can be easily accessed with the $ operator.






The epicontacts data structure enables some convenient implementations of "generic" functions in R. These functions (plot(), print(), summary(), etc.) behave differently depending on the class of the input.


Using the name of an object (or the print() function explicitly) will invoke the print method in R. For the epicontacts data structure, printing is conveniently trimmed to show how many cases (rows in the line list) and how many contacts (rows in the contact list), as well as a glimpse of the first 10 rows of each data frame.



The summary method provides descriptive information regarding the dimensions and relationship between the line list and contact list (i.e. how many ids they share).



With this method, one can reduce the size of the epicontacts object by filtering rows based on explicit values in the line list (node) and contact list (edge) components. For more on how to parameterize the subset, see ?subset.epicontacts.

nb this function returns an epicontacts object, which can in turn be passed to another generic method.

rokupafuneral <- subset(x, 
                        node_attribute = list("hospital" = "Rokupa Hospital"), 
                        edge_attribute = list("source" = "funeral"))


By default, passing an epicontacts object into the plot function is effectively the same as using vis_epicontacts(), and will generate an interactive visualiztion of the network of cases and contacts. Note that this method includes a number of options to customize the plot. For more see ?vis_epicontacts.

plot(rokupafuneral, y = "outcome")

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epicontacts documentation built on May 2, 2019, 11:29 a.m.