School closure during influenza outbreaks

Added April 30, 2020

Citation: Bin Nafisah S, Alamery A, Al Nafesa A, et al. School closure during novel influenza: A systematic review. Journal of Infection and Public Health 2018; 11: 657-61

What is this? During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in some countries have been closed to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. Existing research from other large outbreaks of a respiratory virus may provide information to help policy makers make decisions about this.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for articles quantifying the effects of school closures during influenza epidemics, using either mathematical models or data from within an established epidemic. They restricted their searches to studies available in English and did the search in March 2017. They identified 31 studies from 12 countries.

What was found: Implementing school closure before or after an influenza epidemic reaches its peak, reduced the overall epidemic.

School closure reduced and delayed the influenza epidemic peak, especially if implemented earlier.

The longer the duration of school closure, the more the influenza epidemic peak was delayed.

What’s uncertain: The optimum duration of school closure during an influenza epidemic is uncertain.


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