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Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Jan 1;52 Suppl 1:S154-60. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciq058.

An outbreak of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in an elementary school in Pennsylvania.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Applied Epidemiology Fellowship Program, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA.


In May 2009, one of the earliest outbreaks of 2009 pandemic influenza A virus (pH1N1) infection resulted in the closure of a semi-rural Pennsylvania elementary school. Two sequential telephone surveys were administered to 1345 students (85% of the students enrolled in the school) and household members in 313 households to collect data on influenza-like illness (ILI). A total of 167 persons (12.4%) among those in the surveyed households, including 93 (24.0%) of the School A students, reported ILI. Students were 3.1 times more likely than were other household members to develop ILI (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3-4.1). Fourth-grade students were more likely to be affected than were students in other grades (relative risk, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-3.9). pH1N1 was confirmed in 26 (72.2%) of the individuals tested by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The outbreak did not resume upon the reopening of the school after the 7-day closure. This investigation found that pH1N1 outbreaks at schools can have substantial attack rates; however, grades and classrooms are affected variably. Additional study is warranted to determine the effectiveness of school closure during outbreaks.

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