Effect of winter school breaks on influenza-like illness, Argentina, 2005-2008

Roberto C Garza, Ricardo Basurto-Dávila, Ismael R Ortega-Sanchez, Luis Oreste Carlino, Martin I Meltzer, Rachel Albalak, Karina Balbuena, Pablo Orellano, Marc-Alain Widdowson, Francisco Averhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


School closures are used to reduce seasonal and pandemic influenza transmission, yet evidence of their effectiveness is sparse. In Argentina, annual winter school breaks occur during the influenza season, providing an opportunity to study this intervention. We used 2005-2008 national weekly surveillance data of visits to a health care provider for influenza-like illness (ILI) from all provinces. Using Serfling-specified Poisson regressions and population-based census denominators, we developed incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for the 3 weeks before, 2 weeks during, and 3 weeks after the break. For persons 5-64 years of age, IRRs were <1 for at least 1 week after the break. Observed rates returned to expected by the third week after the break; overall decrease among persons of all ages was 14%. The largest decrease was among children 5-14 years of age during the week after the break (37% lower IRR). Among adults, effects were weaker and delayed. Two-week winter school breaks significantly decreased visits to a health care provider for ILI among school-aged children and nonelderly adults.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)938-944
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Argentina/epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Influenza, Human/epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Schools
  • Seasons
  • Young Adult


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