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1.
J Infect ; 2021 Dec 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587235

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of children and young people (CYP) in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in household and educational settings remains unclear. We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of contact-tracing and population-based studies at low risk of bias. METHODS: We searched 4 electronic databases on 28 July 2021 for contact-tracing studies and population-based studies informative about transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from 0 to 19 year olds in household or educational settings. We excluded studies at high risk of bias, including from under-ascertainment of asymptomatic infections. We undertook multilevel random effects meta-analyses of secondary attack rates (SAR: contact-tracing studies) and school infection prevalence, and used meta-regression to examine the impact of community SARS-CoV-2 incidence on school infection prevalence. FINDINGS: 4529 abstracts were reviewed, resulting in 37 included studies (16 contact-tracing; 19 population studies; 2 mixed studies). The pooled relative transmissibility of CYP compared with adults was 0.92 (0.68, 1.26) in adjusted household studies. The pooled SAR from CYP was lower (p = 0.002) in school studies 0.7% (0.2, 2.7) than household studies (7.6% (3.6, 15.9) . There was no difference in SAR from CYP to child or adult contacts. School population studies showed some evidence of clustering in classes within schools. School infection prevalence was associated with contemporary community 14-day incidence (OR 1.003 (1.001, 1.004), p<0.001). INTERPRETATION: We found no difference in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from CYP compared with adults within household settings. SAR were markedly lower in school compared with household settings, suggesting that household transmission is more important than school transmission in this pandemic. School infection prevalence was associated with community infection incidence, supporting hypotheses that school infections broadly reflect community infections. These findings are important for guiding policy decisions on shielding, vaccination school and operations during the pandemic.

2.
Preprint | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-297053

ABSTRACT

Background: The role of children and young people (CYP) in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in household and educational settings remains unclear. We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of contact-tracing and population-based studies at low risk of bias. Methods We searched 4 electronic databases on 28 July 2021 for contact-tracing studies and population-based studies informative about transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from 0-19 year olds in household or educational settings. We excluded studies at high risk of bias, including from under-ascertainment of asymptomatic infections. We undertook multilevel random effects meta-analyses of secondary attack rates (SAR: contact-tracing studies) and school infection prevalence, and used meta-regression to examine the impact of community SARS-CoV-2 incidence on school infection prevalence. Findings 4529 abstracts were reviewed, resulting in 37 included studies (16 contact-tracing;19 population studies;2 mixed studies). The pooled relative transmissibility of CYP compared with adults was 0.92 (0.68, 1.26) in adjusted household studies. The pooled SAR from CYP was lower (p=0.002) in school studies 0.7% (0.2, 2.7) than household studies (7.6% (3.6, 15.9) . There was no difference in SAR from CYP to child or adult contacts. School population studies showed some evidence of clustering in classes within schools. School infection prevalence was associated with contemporary community 14-day incidence (OR 1.003 (1.001, 1.004), p<0.001). Interpretation We found no difference in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from CYP compared with adults within household settings. SAR were markedly lower in school compared with household settings, suggesting that household transmission is more important than school transmission in this pandemic. School infection prevalence was associated with community infection incidence, supporting hypotheses that school infections broadly reflect community infections. These findings are important for guiding policy decisions on shielding, vaccination school and operations during the pandemic.

3.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 452021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1498419

ABSTRACT

Abstract: For 27 years, national prospective data on selected rare childhood diseases have been collected monthly by the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) from paediatricians and other clinical specialists who report cases in children aged up to 16 years. We report here the annual results of APSU surveillance in 2020 for ten rare communicable diseases and complications of communicable diseases, namely: acute flaccid paralysis (AFP); congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection; neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection; perinatal exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); paediatric HIV infection; severe complications of seasonal influenza; juvenile onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (JoRRP); congenital rubella syndrome; congenital varicella syndrome; and neonatal varicella infection. We describe the results for each disease in the context of the total period of study, including demographics, clinical characteristics, treatment and short-term outcomes. Despite challenges presented by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, more than 1,400 paediatricians reported regularly to the APSU and an overall monthly reporting rate of > 90% was achieved. The minimum AFP target of 1 case per 100,000 children aged less than 15 years was achieved and there were few cases of vaccine-preventable diseases (JoRRP, rubella, varicella). However, high cases of congenital CMV, neonatal HSV and perinatal exposure to HIV persist. There were no severe complications of seasonal influenza reported for the first time in 13 years. This is consistent with other surveillance data reporting a decline of influenza and other communicable diseases in 2020, and likely reflects the wider effects of public health measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the Australian community.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Australia/epidemiology , Child , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Pregnancy , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
4.
EClinicalMedicine ; 33: 100771, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1120907

ABSTRACT

Background: COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities (ACFs) often have devastating consequences. However, epidemiologically these outbreaks are not well defined. We aimed to define such outbreaks in ACFs by systematically reviewing literature published during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We searched 11 bibliographic databases for literature published on COVID-19 in ACFs between December 2019 and September 2020. Original studies reporting extractable epidemiological data as part of outbreak investigations or non-outbreak surveillance of ACFs were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis. PROSPERO registration: CRD42020211424. Findings: We identified 5,148 publications and selected 49 studies from four continents reporting data on 214,380 residents in 8,502 ACFs with 25,567 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Aged care residents form a distinct vulnerable population with single-facility attack rates of 45% [95% CI 32-58%] and case fatality rates of 23% [95% CI 18-28%]. Of the cases, 31% [95% CI 28-34%] were asymptomatic. The rate of hospitalization amongst residents was 37% [95% CI 35-39%]. Data from 21 outbreaks identified a resident as the index case in 58% of outbreaks and a staff member in 42%. Findings from the included studies were heterogeneous and of low to moderate quality in risk of bias assessment. Interpretation: The clinical presentation of COVID-19 varies widely in ACFs residents, from asymptomatic to highly serious cases. Preventing the introduction of COVID-19 into ACFs is key, and both residents and staff are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination. Rapid diagnosis, identification of primary and secondary cases and close contacts plus their isolation and quarantine are of paramount importance. Funding: Queensland Advancing Clinical Research Fellowship awarded to Prof. Gulam Khandaker by Queensland Health's Health Innovation, Investment and Research Office (HIRO), Office of the Director-General.

5.
BMJ ; 372: n188, 2021 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1096979

ABSTRACT

The proportion of the global population aged 65 and older is rapidly increasing. Infections in this age group, most recently with SARS-CoV-2, cause substantial morbidity and mortality. Major improvements have been made in vaccines for older people, either through the addition of novel adjuvants-as in the new recombinant zoster vaccine and an adjuvanted influenza vaccine-or by increasing antigen concentration, as in influenza vaccines. In this article we review improvements in immunization for the three most important vaccine preventable diseases of aging. The recombinant zoster vaccine has an efficacy of 90% that is minimally affected by the age of the person being vaccinated and persists for more than four years. Increasing antigen dose or inclusion of adjuvant has improved the immunogenicity of influenza vaccines in older adults, although the relative effectiveness of the enhanced influenza vaccines and the durability of the immune response are the focus of ongoing clinical trials. Conjugate and polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccines have similar efficacy against invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal pneumonia caused by vaccine serotypes in older adults. Their relative value varies by setting, depending on the prevalence of vaccine serotypes, largely related to conjugate vaccine coverage in children. Improved efficacy will increase public confidence and uptake of these vaccines. Co-administration of these vaccines is feasible and important for maximal uptake in older people. Development of new vaccine platforms has accelerated following the arrival of SARS-CoV-2, and will likely result in new vaccines against other pathogens in the future.


Subject(s)
Herpes Zoster Vaccine/immunology , Influenza Vaccines/immunology , Pneumococcal Vaccines/immunology , Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Animals , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Immunosenescence/immunology , Male , Mice , Middle Aged , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(2)2021 01 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067716

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to assess hand hygiene knowledge, perception, and practices of visitors to the Prophet's Mosque in Al Madinah City, Saudi Arabia. Using a self-administered electronic questionnaire, a cross-sectional survey was conducted among domestic residents, who visited the mosque between 31 July and 3 August 2020. Participants' demographic data, hand hygiene knowledge, perception, and practices were collected. Four hundred participants aged 18-65 (median 36) years completed the survey, of which 215 (53.8%) were female. The visitors' mean knowledge score about hand hygiene was 6.4 (± standard deviation (SD) 1.35) of total 12. Most participants (392, 98%) were aware of the role of hand hygiene in preventing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); nevertheless, 384 (96%) said hand hygiene lowers body immunity and 316 (79%) thought <60% alcohol is sufficient for hand disinfection. Males had a higher knowledge score than females (6.46 (±1.41) vs. 6.14 (±1.27), p = 0.02) and, visitors who had no formal education scored higher than those with post-graduate education (6.88 (±1.45) vs 5.73 (±1.12), p = 0.01). Washing hands with soap and water was the predominant method practiced after a meal (365, 91.7%), after toilet visit (354, 88.5%), after touching a surface (262, 65.7%), after waste disposal (332, 83.2%), and when hands were visibly dirty (357, 89.5%). Al Madinah visitors had moderate knowledge about hand hygiene, but demonstrated some knowledge gaps and negligence in practice that are crucial to curb the spread of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Hand Hygiene , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Hand Disinfection , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Saudi Arabia , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
7.
JAMA Pediatr ; 175(2): 143-156, 2021 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064305

ABSTRACT

Importance: The degree to which children and adolescents are infected by and transmit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is unclear. The role of children and adolescents in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is dependent on susceptibility, symptoms, viral load, social contact patterns, and behavior. Objective: To systematically review the susceptibility to and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among children and adolescents compared with adults. Data Sources: PubMed and medRxiv were searched from database inception to July 28, 2020, and a total of 13 926 studies were identified, with additional studies identified through hand searching of cited references and professional contacts. Study Selection: Studies that provided data on the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in children and adolescents (younger than 20 years) compared with adults (20 years and older) derived from contact tracing or population screening were included. Single-household studies were excluded. Data Extraction and Synthesis: PRISMA guidelines for abstracting data were followed, which was performed independently by 2 reviewers. Quality was assessed using a critical appraisal checklist for prevalence studies. Random-effects meta-analysis was undertaken. Main Outcomes and Measures: Secondary infection rate (contact-tracing studies) or prevalence or seroprevalence (population screening studies) among children and adolescents compared with adults. Results: A total of 32 studies comprising 41 640 children and adolescents and 268 945 adults met inclusion criteria, including 18 contact-tracing studies and 14 population screening studies. The pooled odds ratio of being an infected contact in children compared with adults was 0.56 (95% CI, 0.37-0.85), with substantial heterogeneity (I2 = 94.6%). Three school-based contact-tracing studies found minimal transmission from child or teacher index cases. Findings from population screening studies were heterogenous and were not suitable for meta-analysis. Most studies were consistent with lower seroprevalence in children compared with adults, although seroprevalence in adolescents appeared similar to adults. Conclusions and Relevance: In this meta-analysis, there is preliminary evidence that children and adolescents have lower susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, with an odds ratio of 0.56 for being an infected contact compared with adults. There is weak evidence that children and adolescents play a lesser role than adults in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 at a population level. This study provides no information on the infectivity of children.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Disease Susceptibility/epidemiology , Disease Transmission, Infectious/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Communicable Disease Control/organization & administration , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Male , Risk Assessment , Seroepidemiologic Studies
8.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(2)2021 01 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1029304

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to assess hand hygiene knowledge, perception, and practices of visitors to the Prophet's Mosque in Al Madinah City, Saudi Arabia. Using a self-administered electronic questionnaire, a cross-sectional survey was conducted among domestic residents, who visited the mosque between 31 July and 3 August 2020. Participants' demographic data, hand hygiene knowledge, perception, and practices were collected. Four hundred participants aged 18-65 (median 36) years completed the survey, of which 215 (53.8%) were female. The visitors' mean knowledge score about hand hygiene was 6.4 (± standard deviation (SD) 1.35) of total 12. Most participants (392, 98%) were aware of the role of hand hygiene in preventing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); nevertheless, 384 (96%) said hand hygiene lowers body immunity and 316 (79%) thought <60% alcohol is sufficient for hand disinfection. Males had a higher knowledge score than females (6.46 (±1.41) vs. 6.14 (±1.27), p = 0.02) and, visitors who had no formal education scored higher than those with post-graduate education (6.88 (±1.45) vs 5.73 (±1.12), p = 0.01). Washing hands with soap and water was the predominant method practiced after a meal (365, 91.7%), after toilet visit (354, 88.5%), after touching a surface (262, 65.7%), after waste disposal (332, 83.2%), and when hands were visibly dirty (357, 89.5%). Al Madinah visitors had moderate knowledge about hand hygiene, but demonstrated some knowledge gaps and negligence in practice that are crucial to curb the spread of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Hand Hygiene , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Hand Disinfection , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Saudi Arabia , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
9.
Trop Med Infect Dis ; 5(4)2020 Oct 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024649

ABSTRACT

This study examined Hajj pilgrims' knowledge and reported practice of hand hygiene. In Hajj 2019, a cross-sectional survey was undertaken in Mina, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, of domestic Saudi pilgrims aged ≥18 years by using a self-administered Arabic questionnaire that captured data on pilgrims' socio-demographics, hand hygiene knowledge, and reported practices of hand cleaning following certain actions. A total of 348 respondents aged 18 to 63 (median 32) years completed the survey, of whom 200 (57.5%) were female. The mean (±standard deviation (SD)) hand hygiene knowledge score was 6.7 (±SD 1.9). Two hundred and seventy one (77.9%) and 286 (82.2%) of respondents correctly identified that hand hygiene can prevent respiratory and gastrointestinal infections respectively, but 146 (42%) were not aware that it prevents hand-foot-mouth disease. Eighty-eight (25.3%) respondents erroneously reported that hand hygiene prevents HIV. Washing hands with water and soap was the most preferred method practiced before a meal (67.5% (235/348)), after a meal (80.2% (279/348)), after toilet action (81.6% (284/348)), when hands were visibly soiled (86.2% (300/348)), and after waste disposal (61.5% (214/348)). Hajj pilgrims demonstrated a good knowledge and practice of hand hygiene, but there are gaps that are vital to control outbreaks such as COVID-19.

10.
Pediatr Infect Dis J ; 40(3): 191-198, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-889612

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe complications of influenza in children are uncommon but may result in admission to hospital or an intensive care unit (ICU) and death. METHODS: Active prospective surveillance using the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit with monthly reporting by pediatricians of national demographic and clinical data on children with <15 years of age hospitalized with severe complications of laboratory-confirmed influenza during ten influenza seasons 2008-2017. RESULTS: Of 722 children notified, 613 had laboratory-confirmed influenza and at least one severe complication. Most (60%) were <5 years of age; 10% were <6 months, hence ineligible for vaccination. Almost half of all cases were admitted to ICU and 30 died. Most children were previously healthy: 40.3% had at least one underlying medical condition. Sixty-five different severe complications were reported; pneumonia was the most common, occurring in over half of all cases. Influenza A accounted for 68.6% hospitalizations; however, influenza B was more often associated with acute renal failure (P = 0.014), rhabdomyolysis (P = 0.019), myocarditis (P = 0.015), pericarditis (P = 0.013), and cardiomyopathy (P = 0.035). Children who died were more likely to be older (5-14 years), have underlying medical conditions, be admitted to ICU, and have encephalitis, acute renal failure, or myocarditis. Only 36.1% of all children reported received antiviral medications, and 8.5% were known to be vaccinated for seasonal influenza. CONCLUSIONS: Severe influenza complications cause morbidity and mortality in children, which may increase if coinfection with COVID-19 occurs in the 2020 season and beyond. Increased vaccination rates, even in healthy children, early diagnosis and timely antiviral treatment are needed to reduce severe complications and death.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Influenza A virus/isolation & purification , Influenza B virus/isolation & purification , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Vaccination , Adolescent , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Coinfection , Epidemiological Monitoring , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Infant , Influenza, Human/complications , Influenza, Human/mortality , Influenza, Human/virology , Intensive Care Units , Male , Prospective Studies , Seasons
11.
Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease ; 5(4):160, 2020.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-875348

ABSTRACT

This study examined Hajj pilgrims’knowledge and reported practice of hand hygiene. In Hajj 2019, a cross-sectional survey was undertaken in Mina, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, of domestic Saudi pilgrims aged ≥18 years by using a self-administered Arabic questionnaire that captured data on pilgrims’socio-demographics, hand hygiene knowledge, and reported practices of hand cleaning following certain actions. A total of 348 respondents aged 18 to 63 (median 32) years completed the survey, of whom 200 (57.5%) were female. The mean (±standard deviation (SD)) hand hygiene knowledge score was 6.7 (±SD 1.9). Two hundred and seventy one (77.9%) and 286 (82.2%) of respondents correctly identified that hand hygiene can prevent respiratory and gastrointestinal infections respectively, but 146 (42%) were not aware that it prevents hand-foot-mouth disease. Eighty-eight (25.3%) respondents erroneously reported that hand hygiene prevents HIV. Washing hands with water and soap was the most preferred method practiced before a meal (67.5% (235/348)), after a meal (80.2% (279/348)), after toilet action (81.6% (284/348)), when hands were visibly soiled (86.2% (300/348)), and after waste disposal (61.5% (214/348)). Hajj pilgrims demonstrated a good knowledge and practice of hand hygiene, but there are gaps that are vital to control outbreaks such as COVID-19.

12.
PLoS One ; 15(10): e0240287, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-864256

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In this large-scale cluster-randomized controlled trial (cRCT) we sought to assess the effectiveness of facemasks against viral respiratory infections. METHODS AND RESULTS: Over three consecutive Hajj seasons (2013, 2014, 2015) pilgrims' tents in Makkah were allocated to 'facemask' or 'no facemask' group. Fifty facemasks were offered to participants in intervention tents, to be worn over four days, and none were offered to participants in control tents. All participants recorded facemask use and respiratory symptoms in health diaries. Nasal swabs were collected from the symptomatic for virus detection by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Clinical symptoms and laboratory results were analyzed by 'intention- to-treat' and 'per-protocol'. A total of 7687 adult participants from 318 tents were randomized: 3864 from 149 tents to the intervention group, and 3823 from 169 tents to the control group. Participants were aged 18 to 95 (median 34, mean 37) years, with a male to female ratio of 1:1.2. Overall, respiratory viruses were detected in 277 of 650 (43%) nasal/pharyngeal swabs collected from symptomatic pilgrims. Common viruses were rhinovirus (35.1%), influenza (4.5%) and parainfluenza (1.7%). In the intervention arm, respectively 954 (24.7%) and 1842 (47.7%) participants used facemasks daily and intermittently, while in the control arm, respectively 546 (14.3%) and 1334 (34.9%) used facemasks daily and intermittently. By intention-to-treat analysis, facemask use did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections (odds ratio [OR], 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.9 to 2.1, p = 0.18) nor against clinical respiratory infection (OR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.9 to 1.4, p = 0.40). Similarly, in a per-protocol analysis, facemask use did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections (OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.9-1.7, p = 0.26) nor against clinical respiratory infection (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.8, p = 0.06). CONCLUSION: This trial was unable to provide conclusive evidence on facemask efficacy against viral respiratory infections most likely due to poor adherence to protocol.


Subject(s)
Masks , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/prevention & control , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Confidence Intervals , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Odds Ratio , Saudi Arabia/epidemiology , Young Adult
13.
Preprint | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-688

ABSTRACT

Background: COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO on 12 March 2020 and UNESCO reported that day that 49 countries had implemented national or subnational

14.
Pharmacy (Basel) ; 8(2)2020 May 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-165165

ABSTRACT

This study assessed Australian Hajj pilgrims' knowledge, attitude and practices throughout their Hajj journey to understand their health behaviors, use of preventative measures and development of illness symptoms. A prospective cohort study with data collection at three phases (before, during and after Hajj) was conducted among Australian pilgrims between August and December 2015. Baseline data were collected from 421 pilgrims before Hajj, with 391 providing follow-up data during Hajj and 300 after their home return. Most participants (78% [329/421]) received one or more recommended vaccines; travel agents' advice was the main factor affecting vaccination uptake. Most participants (69% [270/391]) practiced hand hygiene with soap and sanitizers frequently, followed by disposable handkerchief use (36% [139/391]) and washing hands with water only (28% [111/391]). During Hajj 74% (288/391) of participants reported one or more illness symptoms, 86% (248/288) of these symptoms were respiratory. Cough was less often reported among pilgrims who received vaccinations, cleaned their hands with soap or alcoholic hand rubs, while a runny nose was less common among those who frequently washed their hands with plain water but was more common among those who used facemasks. This study reveals that most Australian Hajj pilgrims complied with key preventative measures, and that tour group operators' advice played an important role in compliance. Pilgrims who were vaccinated and practiced hand hygiene were less likely to report infection symptoms.

15.
Lancet Child Adolesc Health ; 4(5): 397-404, 2020 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-34791

ABSTRACT

In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, 107 countries had implemented national school closures by March 18, 2020. It is unknown whether school measures are effective in coronavirus outbreaks (eg, due to severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS], Middle East respiratory syndrome, or COVID-19). We undertook a systematic review by searching three electronic databases to identify what is known about the effectiveness of school closures and other school social distancing practices during coronavirus outbreaks. We included 16 of 616 identified articles. School closures were deployed rapidly across mainland China and Hong Kong for COVID-19. However, there are no data on the relative contribution of school closures to transmission control. Data from the SARS outbreak in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore suggest that school closures did not contribute to the control of the epidemic. Modelling studies of SARS produced conflicting results. Recent modelling studies of COVID-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2-4% of deaths, much less than other social distancing interventions. Policy makers need to be aware of the equivocal evidence when considering school closures for COVID-19, and that combinations of social distancing measures should be considered. Other less disruptive social distancing interventions in schools require further consideration if restrictive social distancing policies are implemented for long periods.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Schools , Adolescent , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Influenza, Human/transmission , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Time Factors
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