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School closures and influenza: systematic review of epidemiological studies

Jackson, C; Vynnycky, E; Hawker, J; Olowokure, B; Mangtani, P; (2013) School closures and influenza: systematic review of epidemiological studies. BMJ Open , 3 (2) , Article e002149. 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002149. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: To review the effects of school closures on pandemic and seasonal influenza outbreaks. Design: Systematic review. Data sources: MEDLINE and EMBASE, reference lists of identified articles, hand searches of key journals and additional papers from the authors' collections. Study selection: Studies were included if they reported on a seasonal or pandemic influenza outbreak coinciding with a planned or unplanned school closure. Results: Of 2579 papers identified through MEDLINE and EMBASE, 65 were eligible for inclusion in the review along with 14 identified from other sources. Influenza incidence frequently declined after school closure. The effect was sometimes reversed when schools reopened, supporting a causal role for school closure in reducing incidence. Any benefits associated with school closure appeared to be greatest among school-aged children. However, as schools often closed late in the outbreak or other interventions were used concurrently, it was sometimes unclear how much school closure contributed to the reductions in incidence. Conclusions: School closures appear to have the potential to reduce influenza transmission, but the heterogeneity in the data available means that the optimum strategy (eg, the ideal length and timing of closure) remains unclear.

Type: Article
Title: School closures and influenza: systematic review of epidemiological studies
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002149
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002149
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1390632
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