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Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 May;16(5):783-8. doi: 10.3201/eid1605.091894.

Contagious period for pandemic (H1N1) 2009.

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Institut National de Sante Publique du Quebec, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.


We estimated the proportion of persons with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 who were shedding infectious virus at diagnosis and on day 8 of illness. In households with confirmed cases, nasopharyngeal swabs were collected on all members and tested by PCR and virus culture. Of 47 cases confirmed by PCR at &lt7 days of illness, virus culture was positive in 92% (11/12) of febrile and 63% (22/35) of afebrile persons. Of 43 persons with PCR-confirmed pandemic (H1N1) 2009 from whom a second specimen was collected on day 8, 74% remained PCR positive and 19% were culture positive. If the 73 symptomatic household members without PCR-confirmed illness are assumed to have pandemic (H1N1) 2009, a minimum of 8% (6/73) of case-patients shed replicating virus on day 8. Self-isolation only until fever abates appears insufficient to limit transmission. Self-isolation for a week may be more effective, although some case-patients still would shed infectious virus.

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