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Social contact networks for the spread of pandemic influenza in children and teenagers.

Glass LM, Glass RJ - BMC Public Health (2008)

Bottom Line: Random contacts, primarily in school passing periods, were numerous but had much lower transmission potential compared to those with primary links within groups.A small number of individual students are identified as likely "super-spreaders".Closing schools and keeping students at home during a pandemic would remove the transmission potential within these ages and could be effective at thwarting its spread within a community.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Albuquerque Public Schools, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. arual721@comcast.net

ABSTRACT

Background: Influenza is a viral infection that primarily spreads via fluid droplets from an infected person's coughs and sneezes to others nearby. Social contact networks and the way people interact within them are thus important to its spread. We developed a method to characterize the social contact network for the potential transmission of influenza and then applied the method to school aged children and teenagers.

Methods: Surveys were administered to students in an elementary, middle and high-school in the United States. The social contact network of a person was conceptualized as a set of groups to which they belong (e.g., households, classes, clubs) each composed of a sub-network of primary links representing the individuals within each group that they contact. The size of the group, number of primary links, time spent in the group, and level of contact along each primary link (near, talking, touching, or kissing) were characterized. Public activities done by groups venturing into the community where random contacts occur (e.g., friends viewing a movie) also were characterized.

Results: Students, groups and public activities were highly heterogeneous. Groups with high potential for the transmission of influenza were households, school classes, friends, and sports; households decreased and friends and sports increased in importance with grade level. Individual public activity events (such as dances) were also important but lost their importance when averaged over time. Random contacts, primarily in school passing periods, were numerous but had much lower transmission potential compared to those with primary links within groups. Students are highly assortative, interacting mainly within age class. A small number of individual students are identified as likely "super-spreaders".

Conclusion: High-school students may form the local transmission backbone of the next pandemic. Closing schools and keeping students at home during a pandemic would remove the transmission potential within these ages and could be effective at thwarting its spread within a community. Social contact networks characterized as groups and public activities with the time, level of contact and primary links within each, yields a comprehensive view, which if extended to all ages, would allow design of effective community containment for pandemic influenza.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Individuals. We show for each grade the 5a) contact-hours in groups per-day, 5c) contact-hours in public activities per-day and 5e) the contact-level-hours per-day added across both groups and public activities without double counting. In each figure a point is plotted for an individual and a box denotes plus and minus one SD centered on the mean value. The red box in 5e) calls attention to the three data points as possible "super-spreaders" within the population surveyed. 5b), 5d), and 5f) show histograms that combine all students in all grades. Per-day values were formed for an average day that incorporated both week days and weekends.
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Figure 5: Individuals. We show for each grade the 5a) contact-hours in groups per-day, 5c) contact-hours in public activities per-day and 5e) the contact-level-hours per-day added across both groups and public activities without double counting. In each figure a point is plotted for an individual and a box denotes plus and minus one SD centered on the mean value. The red box in 5e) calls attention to the three data points as possible "super-spreaders" within the population surveyed. 5b), 5d), and 5f) show histograms that combine all students in all grades. Per-day values were formed for an average day that incorporated both week days and weekends.

Mentions: For each individual student, the total number of groups they belong to, their contact-hours-per-day, average contact-level and contact-level-hours for both their groups and public activities were evaluated. In addition, the total contact-level-hours across both their groups and public activities were summed (adjusted to remove double counting as in Figure 3c). Across all analyses, we found no significant difference between genders. Distributions for the number of groups and level of contact in both groups and public activities are fairly narrow. However, for contact-hours and contact-level-hours per day, we find students to be highly heterogeneous. To demonstrate this heterogeneity, we show for each grade the contact-hours in groups per day in Figure 5a, the contact-hours in public activities per day in Figure 5c, and the total contact-level-hours per day in Figure 5e. In each figure a point is plotted for each individual and a box denotes plus and minus one standard deviation about the mean. Figures 5b, 5d, and 5f show histograms for Figures 5a, 5c, and 5e, respectively, that combine all students in all grades.


Social contact networks for the spread of pandemic influenza in children and teenagers.

Glass LM, Glass RJ - BMC Public Health (2008)

Individuals. We show for each grade the 5a) contact-hours in groups per-day, 5c) contact-hours in public activities per-day and 5e) the contact-level-hours per-day added across both groups and public activities without double counting. In each figure a point is plotted for an individual and a box denotes plus and minus one SD centered on the mean value. The red box in 5e) calls attention to the three data points as possible "super-spreaders" within the population surveyed. 5b), 5d), and 5f) show histograms that combine all students in all grades. Per-day values were formed for an average day that incorporated both week days and weekends.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2277389&req=5

Figure 5: Individuals. We show for each grade the 5a) contact-hours in groups per-day, 5c) contact-hours in public activities per-day and 5e) the contact-level-hours per-day added across both groups and public activities without double counting. In each figure a point is plotted for an individual and a box denotes plus and minus one SD centered on the mean value. The red box in 5e) calls attention to the three data points as possible "super-spreaders" within the population surveyed. 5b), 5d), and 5f) show histograms that combine all students in all grades. Per-day values were formed for an average day that incorporated both week days and weekends.
Mentions: For each individual student, the total number of groups they belong to, their contact-hours-per-day, average contact-level and contact-level-hours for both their groups and public activities were evaluated. In addition, the total contact-level-hours across both their groups and public activities were summed (adjusted to remove double counting as in Figure 3c). Across all analyses, we found no significant difference between genders. Distributions for the number of groups and level of contact in both groups and public activities are fairly narrow. However, for contact-hours and contact-level-hours per day, we find students to be highly heterogeneous. To demonstrate this heterogeneity, we show for each grade the contact-hours in groups per day in Figure 5a, the contact-hours in public activities per day in Figure 5c, and the total contact-level-hours per day in Figure 5e. In each figure a point is plotted for each individual and a box denotes plus and minus one standard deviation about the mean. Figures 5b, 5d, and 5f show histograms for Figures 5a, 5c, and 5e, respectively, that combine all students in all grades.

Bottom Line: Random contacts, primarily in school passing periods, were numerous but had much lower transmission potential compared to those with primary links within groups.A small number of individual students are identified as likely "super-spreaders".Closing schools and keeping students at home during a pandemic would remove the transmission potential within these ages and could be effective at thwarting its spread within a community.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Albuquerque Public Schools, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. arual721@comcast.net

ABSTRACT

Background: Influenza is a viral infection that primarily spreads via fluid droplets from an infected person's coughs and sneezes to others nearby. Social contact networks and the way people interact within them are thus important to its spread. We developed a method to characterize the social contact network for the potential transmission of influenza and then applied the method to school aged children and teenagers.

Methods: Surveys were administered to students in an elementary, middle and high-school in the United States. The social contact network of a person was conceptualized as a set of groups to which they belong (e.g., households, classes, clubs) each composed of a sub-network of primary links representing the individuals within each group that they contact. The size of the group, number of primary links, time spent in the group, and level of contact along each primary link (near, talking, touching, or kissing) were characterized. Public activities done by groups venturing into the community where random contacts occur (e.g., friends viewing a movie) also were characterized.

Results: Students, groups and public activities were highly heterogeneous. Groups with high potential for the transmission of influenza were households, school classes, friends, and sports; households decreased and friends and sports increased in importance with grade level. Individual public activity events (such as dances) were also important but lost their importance when averaged over time. Random contacts, primarily in school passing periods, were numerous but had much lower transmission potential compared to those with primary links within groups. Students are highly assortative, interacting mainly within age class. A small number of individual students are identified as likely "super-spreaders".

Conclusion: High-school students may form the local transmission backbone of the next pandemic. Closing schools and keeping students at home during a pandemic would remove the transmission potential within these ages and could be effective at thwarting its spread within a community. Social contact networks characterized as groups and public activities with the time, level of contact and primary links within each, yields a comprehensive view, which if extended to all ages, would allow design of effective community containment for pandemic influenza.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus