Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Influenza transmission in households during the 1918 pandemic

Fraser, C and Cummings, DAT and Klinkenberg, D and Burke, DS and Ferguson, NM (2011) Influenza transmission in households during the 1918 pandemic. American Journal of Epidemiology, 174 (5). 505 - 514. ISSN 0002-9262

[img] Plain Text (licence)
Available under License : See the attached license file.

Download (1kB)


Analysis of historical data has strongly shaped our understanding of the epidemiology of pandemic influenza and informs analysis of current and future epidemics. Here, the authors analyzed previously unpublished documents from a large household survey of the "Spanish" H1N1 influenza pandemic, conducted in 1918, for the first time quantifying influenza transmissibility at the person-to-person level during that most lethal of pandemics. The authors estimated a low probability of person-to-person transmission relative to comparable estimates from seasonal influenza and other directly transmitted infections but similar to recent estimates from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. The authors estimated a very low probability of asymptomatic infection, a previously unknown parameter for this pandemic, consistent with an unusually virulent virus. The authors estimated a high frequency of prior immunity that they attributed to a largely unreported influenza epidemic in the spring of 1918 (or perhaps to cross-reactive immunity). Extrapolating from this finding, the authors hypothesize that prior immunity partially protected some populations from the worst of the fall pandemic and helps explain differences in attack rates between populations. Together, these analyses demonstrate that the 1918 influenza virus, though highly virulent, was only moderately transmissible and thus in a modern context would be considered controllable. © 2011 The Author.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Fraser, C
Cummings, DAT
Klinkenberg, D
Burke, DSdonburke@pitt.eduDONBURKE
Ferguson, NM
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Center for Vaccine Research
Date: 1 September 2011
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: American Journal of Epidemiology
Volume: 174
Number: 5
Page Range: 505 - 514
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1093/aje/kwr122
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0002-9262
Date Deposited: 07 May 2015 19:25
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:57


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item