Many outbreaks of A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza have occurred in schools with a high population density. Containment of school outbreaks is predicted to help mitigate pandemic influenza. Understanding disease transmission characteristics within the school setting is critical to implementing effective control measures. Based on a school outbreak survey, we found almost all (93.7%) disease transmission occurred within a single grade, only 6.3% crossed grades. Transmissions originating from freshmen exhibited a star-shaped network; other grades exhibited branch- or line-shaped networks, indicating freshmen have higher activity and are more likely to cause infection. R0 for freshmen, calculated as 2.04, estimated as 2.76, was greater than for other grades (P < 0.01). Without intervention, the estimated number of cases was much greater when the outbreak was initiated by freshmen than by other grades. Furthermore, the estimated number of cases required to be under quarantine and isolation for freshmen was less than that of equivalent other grades. So we concluded that different grades have different transmission mode. Freshmen were the main facilitators of the spread of A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza during this school outbreak, so control measures (e.g. close contact isolation) priority used for freshmen would likely have effectively reduced spread of influenza in school settings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas