Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vaccinating Children May Be Effective At Helping Control Spread Of Influenza

Date:
June 19, 2009
Source:
University of Warwick
Summary:
Targeting children may be an effective use of limited supplies of flu vaccine, according to new research. The study suggests that, used to support other control measures, this could help control the spread of pandemics such as the current swine flu.

Targeting children may be an effective use of limited supplies of flu vaccine, according to research at the University of Warwick funded by the Wellcome Trust and the EU. The study suggests that, used to support other control measures, this could help control the spread of pandemics such as the current swine flu.

As the World Health Organization declares a pandemic global H1N1 swine flu, countries are looking at measures to control the spread of the disease. These measures include the use of antiviral treatment, social distancing (for example, closing schools and stopping public transport) and quarantining infected individuals.

Pharmaceutical companies have also stepped up production of vaccines effective against this particular strain of the virus. However, if the spread of the disease increases significantly in the autumn, as some scientists predict, it is unlikely that supplies of the new vaccine will be sufficient to vaccinate entire populations.

In research published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection, Dr Thomas House and Professor Matt Keeling from the University of Warwick’s Department of Biological Sciences have used computer modelling to predict the spread of pandemic influenza and to look at ways of controlling it effectively, particularly where supplies of vaccine are not sufficient for universal coverage.

The researchers showed that, as might be expected, the disease is likely to spread fastest in densely-populated conurbations, suggesting that these should be priority areas for tackling the spread. However, they showed that vaccinating entire households at random was an inefficient use of resources; instead, vaccinating key individuals offered sufficient protection to others in their household.

Although a simplification of the complex reality of pandemic flu transmission, the researchers believe their model provides a robust argument for vaccinating children.

"Our models suggest that the larger the household – which in most cases means the more children living at home – the more likely the infection is to spread," says Professor Keeling. "This doesn't mean that everyone in the household needs to be vaccinated, but suggests that vaccination programmes for children might help control a potential pandemic."

The researchers argue that targeting children for vaccination would not only help protect those at greatest risk of exposure to the virus, but would also offer protection to unvaccinated adults. This so-called "herd immunity" effect would mean that significantly less vaccine would be necessary to help control the spread of the virus than if it were offered to everyone.

"Given that children are generally at particular risk from the disease, we believe that vaccination programmes for the young can be justified," says Dr House. "Although not sufficient to prevent a pandemic in themselves, such steps may support other control measures such as social distancing, antiviral drugs or quarantine."

The current study focuses on household transmissions. In the event of a disease outbreak, other modes of transmission are also likely, such as at work or on public transport. However, data for these modes is harder to come by. Professor Keeling and Dr House, together with colleagues at the University of Liverpool, are currently running http://www.contactsurvey.org, a survey on contact patterns which they hope will help to quantify the relative importance of each context.

"We think it is unlikely that including these other contexts in our model will change the conclusion regarding vaccinating children," says Dr House. "In every city studied, households are seen to play a key role in the transmission of close-contact diseases like influenza."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. House, T & Keeling, M. Household structure and infectious disease transmission. Epidemiology and Infection, 2009; 137 (5): 654 DOI: 10.1017/S0950268808001416

Cite This Page:

University of Warwick. "Vaccinating Children May Be Effective At Helping Control Spread Of Influenza." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617080120.htm>.
University of Warwick. (2009, June 19). Vaccinating Children May Be Effective At Helping Control Spread Of Influenza. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617080120.htm
University of Warwick. "Vaccinating Children May Be Effective At Helping Control Spread Of Influenza." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617080120.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Cardiac experts are testing a new experimental device designed to eliminate major surgery and still keep the heart on track. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) More than 269 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them will need surgery and radiation, but there’s a new simple way to reconstruct tissue using a patient’s own fat. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood Clots in Kids

Blood Clots in Kids

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Every year, up to 200,000 Americans die from a blood clot that travels to their lungs. You’ve heard about clots in adults, but new research shows kids can get them too. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Doctors have used radio frequency ablation or RFA to reduce neck and back pain for years. But now, that same technique is providing longer-term relief for patients with severe knee pain. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:
from the past week

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