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J Infect. 2011 Mar;62(3):200-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2011.01.007. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Social and economic impact of school closure resulting from pandemic influenza A/H1N1.

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Centers for Disease Control, Department of Health, No. 6 Linsen S. Rd., Jhongjheng District, Taipei, Taiwan.



On May 23, 2009, a school was closed for one week plus mass chemoprophylaxis to contain the pandemic after a kindergartener tested positive for pandemic influenza A/H1N1. We evaluated the impact of school closure on the students, families, and the school.


Households were surveyed using a questionnaire to obtain information on adherence to, socio-economic impact by and inconveniences of school closure. The school principal was interviewed to assess the impact on the staff. Compliance and adverse events of chemoprophylaxis were assessed.


Of the 232 (14%) households surveyed, 29 (13%) went to public places or gatherings at least once during the closure. Sixty-one (27%) of 229 respondents reported workplace absenteeism, and 42 (18%) of 231 respondents had wage loss. In total, 194 working days lost and 6433 US dollars wage lost were noted. The school put in 6573 h of manpower during the period. For chemoprophylaxis, 6 (6%) kindergartners missed at least one dose; and 6 (6%) reported adverse events, but none sought medical care. Overall, 169 (73%) families were at least moderately supportive of school closure.


With assistance from the school, short-term school closure was supported by the majority of families despite economic inconvenience to the households.

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