Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social Separation Stops Flu Spread, But Must Be Started Soon

Date:
May 1, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
A disease spread simulation has emphasized that flu interventions must be imposed quickly, if they are to be effective. Researchers have shown that staying at home, closing schools and isolating infected people within the home should reduce infection, but only if they are used in combination, activated without delay and maintained for a relatively long period.

A disease spread simulation has emphasized that flu interventions must be imposed quickly, if they are to be effective.

Related Articles


Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Public Health have shown that staying at home, closing schools and isolating infected people within the home should reduce infection, but only if they are used in combination, activated without delay and maintained for a relatively long period.

Professor George Milne and his colleagues from the University of Western Australia (UWA) simulated the effect of social distancing on the spread of a flu virus within a small town. Their research used a detailed, individual-based model of a real community with a population of approximately 30,000 (Albany, Australia) using simulation software engineered by UWA's Dr Joel Kelso. Milne said, "Our results suggest a critical role of combined social distancing measures in the potential control of a future pandemic. Non-pharmaceutical social distancing interventions are capable of preventing less-infectious influenza epidemics and of significantly reducing the rate of development and overall burden of the worst epidemics".

The research investigated the effects, alone and in combination, of workplace non-attendance, school closure, isolating infected family members inside the home and reducing contact within the wider community. According to Milne, "While such draconian measures seem unlikely to be mandated given their impact on personal freedom, they appear to have a key role to play in delaying the development of a 'worst case' influenza epidemic. They may be critical in holding back an epidemic until vaccines are deployed on a sufficient scale that subsequent relaxation of these rigorous measures will not result in a consequential acceleration in the scale of the outbreak".

The measures described must, however, be employed as soon as possible after the first individuals within the population have been infected, if not preemptively. This study found that, for an outbreak of influenza approximately as infectious as the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, the combination of all intervention measures must be introduced within 2 weeks of the first case appearing in a town or city, to prevent an epidemic developing. Delays of 2, 3 and 4 weeks resulted in final attack rates of 7%, 21% and 45% respectively.

Milne concludes, "Social distancing interventions are important as they represent the only type of intervention measure guaranteed to be available against a novel strain of influenza in the early phases of a pandemic. They may be readily activated and thought of as a first line of defence in developing and developed countries alike".


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joel K Kelso, George J Milne and Heath Kelly. Simulation suggests that rapid activation of social distancing can arrest epidemic development due to a novel strain of influenza. BMC Public Health, 2009; 9 (1): 117 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-9-117

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Social Separation Stops Flu Spread, But Must Be Started Soon." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430121940.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, May 1). Social Separation Stops Flu Spread, But Must Be Started Soon. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430121940.htm
BioMed Central. "Social Separation Stops Flu Spread, But Must Be Started Soon." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430121940.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins