David N. Fisman, MD, MPH
Potential Conflicts of Interest: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M11-2637.
Requests for Single Reprints: David N. Fisman, MD, MPH, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, 155 College Street, Room 678, Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M7, Canada; e-mail, email@example.com.
Fisman DN. Getting Schooled: School Closure, Age Distribution, and Pandemic Mitigation. Ann Intern Med. 2012;156:238-240. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-156-3-201202070-00014
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2012;156(3):238-240.
Despite the gains in antimicrobial therapy and vaccines that have come in the past 100 years (1), epidemics and pandemics (synchronized, global epidemics) remain an important source of morbidity, mortality, and costs in high-, middle-, and low-income countries. Epidemics can be thought of as self-perpetuating, exponential growth processes; because infections are communicable, the more cases you have, the more cases you will get, as long as the population contains susceptible persons to infect.
Epidemiologists refer to the key index of this type of growth as the reproductive number of an infectious disease—the number of new (incident) cases created by each old (prevalent) case before the prevalent case recovers (2). Reproductive numbers are the product of 3 core components: how infectious a person is, the duration of infectiousness of a person, and how many contacts that person has. Epidemic mitigation strategies that seek to reduce the latter component of the reproductive number (contact between infectious and susceptible persons) are often referred to as social-distancing measures.
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Infectious Disease, Pulmonary/Critical Care, Influenza, Prevention/Screening.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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