Closing schools didn't slow down swine flu
Washington, D.C.; FEBRUARY 3, 2011 (WPVI) -- When swine flu hit schools in 2009, many parents wanted the "sick" schools closed. But a new study says that doesn't do any good.
The study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says closing a school once an outbreak starts may actually have helped the H1N1 virus spread.
The study was done at an unnamed Pennsylvania school in spring 2009. The researchers collected data in real time, even as the outbreak was going on. The research team included scientists from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Imperial College London.
The researchers found that the virus spread through a child's network of friends outside school, not between kids in class.
And adults who got sick probably didn't get it from their kids, but from other adults. Only 1 in 5 are believed to have caught it from their own children.
In elementary schools, girls tend to associate with girls, and boys with boys. And the researchers found out the birus spread the same way - during one 3-day period, it spread among boys, then a few days later, it most;y sickened girls.
According to the study, the virus spread at the same pace during and after the school was closed.
swine flu - h1n1, school, healthcheck
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