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Simulating school closure strategies to titigate an influenza epidemic

Lee, BY and Brown, ST and Cooley, P and Potter, MA and Wheaton, WD and Voorhees, RE and Stebbins, S and Grefenstette, JJ and Zimmer, SM and Zimmerman, RK and Assi, TM and Bailey, RR and Wagener, DK and Burke, DS (2010) Simulating school closure strategies to titigate an influenza epidemic. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 16 (3). 252 - 261. ISSN 1078-4659

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BACKGROUND: There remains substantial debate over the impact of school closure as a mitigation strategy during an influenza pandemic. The ongoing 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic has provided an unparalleled opportunity to test interventions with the most up-to-date simulations. METHODS: To assist the Allegheny County Health Department during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, the University of Pittsburgh Models of Infectious Disease Agents Study group employed an agent-based computer simulation model (ABM) of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, to explore the effects of various school closure strategies on mitigating influenza epidemics of different reproductive rates (R0). RESULTS: Entire school system closures were not more effective than individual school closures. Any type of school closure may need to be maintained throughout most of the epidemic (ie, at least 8 weeks) to have any significant effect on the overall serologic attack rate. In fact, relatively short school closures (ie, 2 weeks or less) may actually slightly increase the overall attack rate by returning susceptible students back into schools in the middle of the epidemic. Varying the illness threshold at which school closures are triggered did not seem to have substantial impact on the effectiveness of school closures, suggesting that short delays in closing schools should not cause concern. CONCLUSIONS: School closures alone may not be able to quell an epidemic but, when maintained for at least 8 weeks, could delay the epidemic peak for up to a week, providing additional time to implement a second more effective intervention such as vaccination. Copyright © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lee, BYbyl1@pitt.eduBYL1
Brown, ST
Cooley, P
Potter, MA
Wheaton, WD
Voorhees, RE
Stebbins, S
Grefenstette, JJgref@pitt.eduGREF
Zimmer, SMzimmersm@pitt.eduZIMMERSM
Zimmerman, RKzimmer@pitt.eduZIMMER
Assi, TM
Bailey, RR
Wagener, DK
Burke, DSdonburke@pitt.eduDONBURKE
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Public Health Practice
Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Vaccine Research
Date: 1 May 2010
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Public Health Management and Practice
Volume: 16
Number: 3
Page Range: 252 - 261
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1097/phh.0b013e3181ce594e
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
School of Medicine > Biomedical Informatics
School of Medicine > Medicine
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1078-4659
Date Deposited: 08 May 2015 15:18
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:57


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