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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

ORELLANO, Pablo Wenceslao et al. Impact of school closings on the influenza A (H1N1) outbreak in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2010, vol.27, n.3, pp. 226-229. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892010000300010.

The impact of school closings on reducing the number of cases of influenza-like illness during an outbreak of influenza A (H1N1), which reached pandemic proportions, was assessed, along with other control measures, in the two main cities of Tierra del Fuego Province in southern Argentina. The incidence before and after the school closings in 2009 was compared by means of the t-test for related samples. By week 40, 6 901 cases of influenza-like illness had been detected, 281 of which were confirmed as influenza A (H1N1) through laboratory tests; 38 patients were hospitalized. After the intervention, there were nearly 10 times fewer cases than the average recorded in the health centers. The results indicate that closing schools during the influenza A (H1N1) outbreak resulted in a significantly lower incidence of influenza-like illness. However, the impact of other measures, such as case management and protection against exposure, should not be ignored. Timely implementation of this intervention, together with other measures, can help minimize the spread of influenza outbreaks.

Keywords : Influenza [human]; influenza A virus [H1N1 subtype]; disease outbreaks; intervention studies; epidemiologic surveillance; Argentina.

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