Rapid communications Open Access
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The first outbreak of pandemic H1N1 influenza in Japan was contained in the Kansai region in May 2009 by social distancing measures. Modelling methods are needed to estimate the validity of these measures before their implementation on a large scale. We estimated the transmission coefficient from outbreaks of pandemic H1N1 influenza among school children in Japan in summer 2009; using this transmission coefficient, we simulated the spread of pandemic H1N1 influenza in a virtual community called the virtual Chuo Line which models an area to the west of metropolitan Tokyo. Measures evaluated in our simulation included: isolation at home, school closure, post-exposure prophylaxis and mass vaccinations of school children. We showed that post-exposure prophylaxis combined with isolation at home and school closure significantly decreases the total number of cases in the community and can mitigate the spread of pandemic H1N1 influenza, even when there is a delay in the availability of vaccine.


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