School closure 'could cut pandemic peak'

Closing schools during a flu pandemic could reduce the number of people infected at the peak of an outbreak by up to 40%, a study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases suggests.

Dr Simon Cauchemez and colleagues from Imperial College London examined the effect of school closure during previous epidemics and pandemics around the world.

Their review suggests that school closure could cut the total number of cases by around 15% and the peak incidence by 40%, easing the burden on health services.

However, the researchers warn that these reductions would only be achieved if children are sufficiently isolated and that any school closure policy is well implemented.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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