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Influenza Other Respir Viruses. 2010 Sep;4(5):259-66.

A primary school outbreak of pandemic 2009 influenza A (H1N1) in China.

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  • 1Office for Disease Control and Emergency Response, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China.



We investigated the first known outbreak of pandemic 2009 influenza A (H1N1) at a primary school in China.


To describe epidemiologic findings, identify risk factors associated with 2009 H1N1 illness, and inform national policy including school outbreak control and surveillance strategies.


We conducted retrospective case finding by reviewing the school's absentee log and retrieving medical records. Enhanced surveillance was implemented by requiring physicians to report any influenza-like illness (ILI) cases to public health authorities. A case-control study was conducted to detect potential risk factors for 2009 H1N1 illness. A questionnaire was administered to 50 confirmed cases and 197 age-, gender-, and location-matched controls randomly selected from student and population registries.


The attack rate was 4% (50/1314), and children from all grades were affected. When compared with controls, confirmed cases were more likely to have been exposed to persons with respiratory illness either in the home or classroom within 7 days of symptom onset (OR, 4.5, 95% CI: 1.9-10.7). No cases reported travel or contact with persons who had traveled outside of the country.


Findings in this outbreak investigation, including risk of illness associated with contacting persons with respiratory illness, are consistent with those reported by others for seasonal influenza and 2009 H1N1 outbreaks in school. The outbreak confirmed that community-level transmission of 2009 H1N1 virus was occurring in China and helped lead to changes in the national pandemic policy from containment to mitigation.

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