24 January 2014

Fridays from the Archives: Schools & Flu

Friday, January 24, 2014: Schools & Flu

Schools are often, for lack of a better descriptor, prime places for infectious disease transmission. But how do common infectious diseases, like seasonal influenza, move through a school? Are there specific patterns that could be accounted for to mitigate transmission?

It turns out that certain factors, such as social networks, may affect not only epidemic impact but also intervention effectiveness.  Through extensive modeling Gail Potter, PhD explores these social contact factors in School Disease Transmission: Has the time come for coordination between monitors and modelers? 

Of course, the other half of the title indicates needed coordination between modelers like Gail and monitors like Guoyan Zhang, MD, MPH and Anthony Llau, MPH, PhDc  who monitored ILI for Miami-Dade County in Florida. Daily school absenteeism surveillance used in coordination with evolving models of transmission could improve analysis of the absenteeism data. This is especially important since, as the presenters mention, absenteeism may not always equal true illness (or illness at all).

To learn more about flu and school absenteeism surveillance, and the modeling that can aid in analysis and intervention decisions, be sure to watch the full webinar from October 18, 2011 on our website.

This post is part of the series Fridays from the Archives. You can access all posts in the series here.

Written by Becky Zwickl, MPH, ISDS Public Health Analyst (bzwickl@syndromic.org)

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