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Hand-washing, mask-wearing may limit transmission of pandemic flu
Date:4/29/2010

NPIs likely will play a crucial role in mitigating the spread of infection when vaccines are unable to provide sufficient protection."

Research project investigators and contributors to this analysis identified many gaps among CDC-funded projects falling into two main categories: (1) behavioral and social sciences and (2) biological and technological sciences. The authors conclude that "taken together, the data provide some evidence that face masks, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, reduced crowding, and school closures are effective in reducing the spread of influenza. Nonetheless, further studies with larger sample sizes, common methodologies to allow pooling of data, and study durations that cover multiple influenza seasons are needed. In addition, further laboratory studies are needed to address the relative contribution of transmission modalities (i.e., small vs. large respiratory droplets and contact transmission). Finally, research should include assessments of psychosocial and cultural factors that shape compliance with NPIs, to explore why certain groups accept NPIs while others do not, and whether barriers to compliance are lifted during a global pandemic."

Eleven CDC-funded studies from 2007 to 2009, evaluated the potential for NPIs, rather than vaccines and antiviral medications, to slow or limit the transmission of pandemic influenza, both in communities and across international air, land, and sea borders. This research used seasonal influenza outbreaks as a model for testing preventive measures for future influenza pandemics, as well as historical research of past pandemics.

The studies assessed the effectiveness of multiple NPIs used in conjunction with one another based on CDC's hypothesis that this approach could create multiple barriers to stop the transmission of influenza. Results from several studies suggest that personal protective measures perceived as part of typical daily routine were frequently practiced. For exam
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Contact: Liz Garman
egarman@apic.org
202-454-2604
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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