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Mass Vaccination Could Mitigate Swine Flu Epidemic

Last Updated: September 11, 2009.

A swine flu epidemic could be greatly reduced by vaccinating 70 percent of the population, including children, high-risk groups, and health care and emergency services personnel, according to a study published online Sept. 10 in Science.

FRIDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A swine flu epidemic could be greatly reduced by vaccinating 70 percent of the population, including children, high-risk groups, and health care and emergency services personnel, according to a study published online Sept. 10 in Science.

Yang Yang, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Washington in Seattle estimated the transmissibility of pandemic H1N1 and the effectiveness of various vaccination strategies based on available data and modeling.

The researchers estimated that the household secondary attack rate (the probability that an infected person in the household will infect another person in the household during the infectious period) was 27.3 percent. A school child was estimated to infect 2.4 other children at the school, while an infected person was estimated to infect 1.3 to 1.7 people during the infectious period at the beginning of an outbreak. The generation interval would range from 2.6 to 3.2 days, according to the study.

"If vaccine were available soon enough, vaccination of children, followed by adults, reaching 70 percent overall coverage, in addition to high risk and essential work force groups, could mitigate a severe epidemic," Yang and colleagues conclude.

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