miércoles, 30 de diciembre de 2009

Household responses to pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related school closures, Perth, Western Australia

DOI: 10.3201/eid1602.091372
Suggested citation for this article: Household responses to pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related school closures, Perth, Western Australia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Feb; [Epub ahead of print]

Household Responses to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related School Closures, Perth, Western Australia
Paul V. Effler, Dale Carcione, Carolien Giele, Gary K. Dowse, Leigh Goggin, and Donna B. Mak

Author affiliations: Associate Editor, Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (P.V. Effler); and Department of Health, Perth, Western Australia, Australia (P.V. Effler, D. Carcione, C. Giele, G.K. Dowse, L. Goggin, D.B. Mak)

School closure is often purported to reduce influenza transmission, but little is known about its effect on families. We surveyed families affected by pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related school closures in Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Surveys were returned for 233 (58%) of 402 students. School closure was deemed appropriate by 110 parents (47%); however, 91 (45%) parents of 202 asymptomatic students reported taking >1 day off work to care for their child, and 71 (35%) had to make childcare arrangements because of the class closures. During the week, 172 (74%) students participated in activities outside the home on >1 occasion, resulting in an average of 3.7 out-of-home activities for each student. In our survey, activities outside the home were commonly reported by students affected by school closure, the effect on families was substantial, and parental opinion regarding school closures as a means to mitigate the outbreak of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 was divided.

On Friday, June 5, 2009, the Western Australia Department of Health received its third notification of confirmed infection with influenza A pandemic (H1N1) 2009. The patient was an elementary school student from Perth, Western Australia, Australia, who had recently returned from a sporting club excursion to Victoria, another Australian state, which had already experienced >600 cumulative confirmed cases of pandemic influenza (1).

Over the next 3 days (June 6–8), vigorous contact tracing and testing confirmed 11 more pandemic (H1N1) 2009 infections among schoolchildren; all had either visited Victoria or were...

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