Navigation Links
Social separation stops flu spread, but must be started soon

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


Contact: Graeme Baldwin
BioMed Central

Related biology news :

1. Social habits of cells may hold key to fighting diseases
2. Social parasites of the smaller kind
3. 454 Sequencing uncovers a genetic basis for different social behaviors in wasp
4. NHGRI funds new Centers for Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research
5. Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Team to study psychosocial stress
6. Social stress + darkness = increased anxiety
7. Social standing influences elephant movement
8. Effects of social isolation traced to brain hormone
9. Genes and environment interact in first graders to predict physical but not social aggression
10. Research uncovers the social dynamics of yellow jackets
11. Reflecting on the social implications of human genetics research -- past, present and future
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric ... Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system ... ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions with ... fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages the ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to ... period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being ... the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... TEL AVIV, Israel , April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... in Behavioral Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the ... has already assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s ... for BioCatch, on the heels of the deployment of ... In addition, BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, ... biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed its ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received ... with the capital we need to meet our current ... essentially provide us the runway to complete validation on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only ... Center and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June ... scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced a ... sciences incubator to accelerate the development of new therapies ... QB3@953 was created to help high-potential life science and ... stage organizations - access to laboratory infrastructure. ... "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each winner with one ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 Research and ... Global Markets" report to their offering. ... billion in 2014 from $29.3 billion in 2013. The market is ... of 13.8% from 2015 to 2020, increasing from $50.6 billion in ... projected product forecasts during the forecast period (2015 to 2020) are ...
Breaking Biology Technology: