Issue 5, Suppl 1 Centennial Influenza Pandemic 2018

Description of social contacts among student cases of pandemic influenza during the containment phase, Melbourne, Australia, 2009

Caroline van Gemert, Emma S McBryde, Isabel Bergeri, Rachel Sacks-Davis, Hassan Vally, Tim Spelman, Brett Sutton, Margaret Hellard


School students and school settings were targeted for public health interventions following the emergence of pandemic influenza A H1N1 2009 (pH1N1). We conducted a study to describe the social contacts of the earliest confirmed student cases of pH1N1 in Melbourne, Australia, in order to inform future pandemic control policy and explore transmission model assumptions. A cross-sectional study with student cases of pH1N1 was conducted in 2009. Demographics, symptom dates and detailed activity information were collected. Students reported social contact in both curricular and extra-curricular activities. Group size and number of total close contacts varied. Whilst participation in all groups and activities was lower in the student’s infectious period and during school closures, social contact was common during periods when isolation was advised and during school closures. This study demonstrates potential central role of young people in pandemic disease transmission given the level of non-adherence to prevention and control measures.

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