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Social contact networks for the spread of pandemic influenza in children and teenagers.
BMC Public Health. 2008 Feb 14; 8:61.BP

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.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Albuquerque Public Schools, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. arual721@comcast.netNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18275603

Citation

Glass, Laura M., and Robert J. Glass. "Social Contact Networks for the Spread of Pandemic Influenza in Children and Teenagers." BMC Public Health, vol. 8, 2008, p. 61.
Glass LM, Glass RJ. Social contact networks for the spread of pandemic influenza in children and teenagers. BMC Public Health. 2008;8:61.
Glass, L. M., & Glass, R. J. (2008). Social contact networks for the spread of pandemic influenza in children and teenagers. BMC Public Health, 8, 61. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-8-61
Glass LM, Glass RJ. Social Contact Networks for the Spread of Pandemic Influenza in Children and Teenagers. BMC Public Health. 2008 Feb 14;8:61. PubMed PMID: 18275603.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Social contact networks for the spread of pandemic influenza in children and teenagers. AU - Glass,Laura M, AU - Glass,Robert J, Y1 - 2008/02/14/ PY - 2007/07/25/received PY - 2008/02/14/accepted PY - 2008/2/16/pubmed PY - 2008/4/29/medline PY - 2008/2/16/entrez SP - 61 EP - 61 JF - BMC public health JO - BMC Public Health VL - 8 N2 - 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. SN - 1471-2458 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18275603/Social_contact_networks_for_the_spread_of_pandemic_influenza_in_children_and_teenagers_ L2 - https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-8-61 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -