Influenza Transmission in Preschools: Modulation by contact landscapes and interventions
Epidemiologic data suggest that schools and daycare facilities likely play a major role in the dissemination of influenza. Pathogen transmission within such small, inhomogenously mixed populations is difficult to model using traditional approaches. We developed simulation based mathematical tool to investigate the effects of social contact networks on pathogen dissemination in a setting analogous to a daycare center or grade school. Here we show that interventions that decrease mixing within child care facilities, including limiting the size of social clusters, reducing the contact frequency between social clusters, and eliminating large gatherings, could diminish pathogen dissemination. Moreover, these measures may amplify the effectiveness of vaccination or antiviral prophylaxis, even if the vaccine is not uniformly effective or antiviral compliance is incomplete. Similar considerations should apply to other small, imperfectly mixed populations, such as offices and schools.