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The Effects of School Holidays on Transmission of Varicella Zoster Virus, England and Wales, 1967–2008

Jackson, C; Mangtani, P; Fine, P; Vynnycky, E; (2014) The Effects of School Holidays on Transmission of Varicella Zoster Virus, England and Wales, 1967–2008. PLoS ONE , 9 (6) , Article e99762. 10.1371/journal.pone.0099762. Green open access

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Abstract

<sec> <title>Background</title> <p>Changes in children’s contact patterns between termtime and school holidays affect the transmission of several respiratory-spread infections. Transmission of varicella zoster virus (VZV), the causative agent of chickenpox, has also been linked to the school calendar in several settings, but temporal changes in the proportion of young children attending childcare centres may have influenced this relationship.</p> </sec><sec> <title>Methods</title> <p>We used two modelling methods (a simple difference equations model and a Time series Susceptible Infectious Recovered (TSIR) model) to estimate fortnightly values of a contact parameter (the per capita rate of effective contact between two specific individuals), using GP consultation data for chickenpox in England and Wales from 1967–2008.</p> </sec><sec> <title>Results</title> <p>The estimated contact parameters were 22–31% lower during the summer holiday than during termtime. The relationship between the contact parameter and the school calendar did not change markedly over the years analysed.</p> </sec><sec> <title>Conclusions</title> <p>In England and Wales, reductions in contact between children during the school summer holiday lead to a reduction in the transmission of VZV. These estimates are relevant for predicting how closing schools and nurseries may affect an outbreak of an emerging respiratory-spread pathogen.</p> </sec>

Type: Article
Title: The Effects of School Holidays on Transmission of Varicella Zoster Virus, England and Wales, 1967–2008
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099762
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0099762
Additional information: © 2014 Jackson et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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/1432840
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