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Simulation suggests that rapid activation of social distancing can arrest epidemic development due to a novel strain of influenza.
BMC Public Health. 2009 Apr 29; 9:117.BP

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Social distancing interventions such as school closure and prohibition of public gatherings are present in pandemic influenza preparedness plans. Predicting the effectiveness of intervention strategies in a pandemic is difficult. In the absence of other evidence, computer simulation can be used to help policy makers plan for a potential future influenza pandemic. We conducted simulations of a small community to determine the magnitude and timing of activation that would be necessary for social distancing interventions to arrest a future pandemic.

METHODS

We used a detailed, individual-based model of a real community with a population of approximately 30,000. We simulated the effect of four social distancing interventions: school closure, increased isolation of symptomatic individuals in their household, workplace nonattendance, and reduction of contact in the wider community. We simulated each of the intervention measures in isolation and in several combinations; and examined the effect of delays in the activation of interventions on the final and daily attack rates.

RESULTS

For an epidemic with an R0 value of 1.5, a combination of all four social distancing measures could reduce the final attack rate from 33% to below 10% if introduced within 6 weeks from the introduction of the first case. In contrast, for an R0 of 2.5 these measures must be introduced within 2 weeks of the first case to achieve a similar reduction; delays of 2, 3 and 4 weeks resulted in final attack rates of 7%, 21% and 45% respectively. For an R0 of 3.5 the combination of all four measures could reduce the final attack rate from 73% to 16%, but only if introduced without delay; delays of 1, 2 or 3 weeks resulted in final attack rates of 19%, 35% or 63% respectively. For the higher R0 values no single measure has a significant impact on attack rates.

CONCLUSION

Our results suggest a critical role of social distancing in the potential control of a future pandemic and indicate that such interventions are capable of arresting influenza epidemic development, but only if they are used in combination, activated without delay and maintained for a relatively long period.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia. joel@csse.uwa.edu.auNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19400970

Citation

Kelso, Joel K., et al. "Simulation Suggests That Rapid Activation of Social Distancing Can Arrest Epidemic Development Due to a Novel Strain of Influenza." BMC Public Health, vol. 9, 2009, p. 117.
Kelso JK, Milne GJ, Kelly H. Simulation suggests that rapid activation of social distancing can arrest epidemic development due to a novel strain of influenza. BMC Public Health. 2009;9:117.
Kelso, J. K., Milne, G. J., & Kelly, H. (2009). Simulation suggests that rapid activation of social distancing can arrest epidemic development due to a novel strain of influenza. BMC Public Health, 9, 117. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-9-117
Kelso JK, Milne GJ, Kelly H. Simulation Suggests That Rapid Activation of Social Distancing Can Arrest Epidemic Development Due to a Novel Strain of Influenza. BMC Public Health. 2009 Apr 29;9:117. PubMed PMID: 19400970.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Simulation suggests that rapid activation of social distancing can arrest epidemic development due to a novel strain of influenza. AU - Kelso,Joel K, AU - Milne,George J, AU - Kelly,Heath, Y1 - 2009/04/29/ PY - 2008/11/21/received PY - 2009/04/29/accepted PY - 2009/4/30/entrez PY - 2009/4/30/pubmed PY - 2009/9/22/medline SP - 117 EP - 117 JF - BMC public health JO - BMC Public Health VL - 9 N2 - BACKGROUND: Social distancing interventions such as school closure and prohibition of public gatherings are present in pandemic influenza preparedness plans. Predicting the effectiveness of intervention strategies in a pandemic is difficult. In the absence of other evidence, computer simulation can be used to help policy makers plan for a potential future influenza pandemic. We conducted simulations of a small community to determine the magnitude and timing of activation that would be necessary for social distancing interventions to arrest a future pandemic. METHODS: We used a detailed, individual-based model of a real community with a population of approximately 30,000. We simulated the effect of four social distancing interventions: school closure, increased isolation of symptomatic individuals in their household, workplace nonattendance, and reduction of contact in the wider community. We simulated each of the intervention measures in isolation and in several combinations; and examined the effect of delays in the activation of interventions on the final and daily attack rates. RESULTS: For an epidemic with an R0 value of 1.5, a combination of all four social distancing measures could reduce the final attack rate from 33% to below 10% if introduced within 6 weeks from the introduction of the first case. In contrast, for an R0 of 2.5 these measures must be introduced within 2 weeks of the first case to achieve a similar reduction; delays of 2, 3 and 4 weeks resulted in final attack rates of 7%, 21% and 45% respectively. For an R0 of 3.5 the combination of all four measures could reduce the final attack rate from 73% to 16%, but only if introduced without delay; delays of 1, 2 or 3 weeks resulted in final attack rates of 19%, 35% or 63% respectively. For the higher R0 values no single measure has a significant impact on attack rates. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest a critical role of social distancing in the potential control of a future pandemic and indicate that such interventions are capable of arresting influenza epidemic development, but only if they are used in combination, activated without delay and maintained for a relatively long period. SN - 1471-2458 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19400970/Simulation_suggests_that_rapid_activation_of_social_distancing_can_arrest_epidemic_development_due_to_a_novel_strain_of_influenza_ L2 - https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-9-117 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -