Title
Estimating the impact of school closure on social mixing behaviour and the transmission of close contact infections in eight European countries Estimating the impact of school closure on social mixing behaviour and the transmission of close contact infections in eight European countries
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Human medicine
Source (journal)
BMC infectious diseases. - London
Volume/pages
9(2009) , p. 187-
ISSN
1471-2334
ISI
000273120500001
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Background Mathematical modelling of infectious disease is increasingly used to help guide public health policy. As directly transmitted infections, such as influenza and tuberculosis, require contact between individuals, knowledge about contact patterns is a necessary pre-requisite of accurate model predictions. Of particular interest is the potential impact of school closure as a means of controlling pandemic influenza (and potentially other pathogens). Methods This paper uses a population-based prospective survey of mixing patterns in eight European countries to study the relative change in the basic reproduction number (R0 - the average number of secondary cases from a typical primary case in a fully susceptible population) on weekdays versus weekends and during regular versus holiday periods. The relative change in R0 during holiday periods and weekends gives an indication of the impact collective school closures (and prophylactic absenteeism) may have during a pandemic. Results Social contact patterns differ substantially when comparing weekdays to the weekend and regular to holiday periods mainly due to the reduction in work and/or school contacts. For most countries the basic reproduction number decreases from the week to weekends and regular to holiday periods by about 21% and 17%, respectively. However for other countries no significant decrease was observed. Conclusions We use a large-scale social contact survey in eight different European countries to gain insights in the relative change in the basic reproduction number on weekdays versus weekends and during regular versus holiday periods. The resulting estimates indicate that school closure can have a substantial impact on the spread of a newly emerging infectious disease that is transmitted via close (non sexual) contacts.
Full text (open access)
https://repository.uantwerpen.be/docman/irua/9d0e31/2621.pdf
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