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Campus quarantine (Fengxiao) for curbing emergent infectious diseases: lessons from mitigating A/H1N1 in Xi’an, China. (English) Zbl 1336.92088
Summary: During the 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic, very strict interventions including campus quarantine (Fengxiao) (restrictions on the movements of university personnel) were taken in mainland China to slow down the initial spread of the disease from the university network to a wider community. The decision for implementation and/or relaxation of Fengxiao depends on the assessment of the level of infection within the university network compared with that in the wider community and on the degree of interruption of normal academic activities and the associated social/economic costs. However, the most important consideration influencing the decision is whether the initiation and termination of Fengxiao can alter the pattern of disease spread in the entire community for effective prevention and control of the emerging disease. Here we formulate and analyze a dynamic model to evaluate the effectiveness of Fengxiao as a social distance measure for curbing the outbreak in major cities of China. Using data from the initial laboratory-confirmed cases admitted to the 8th Hospital of Xi’an (the capital city of the Shaanxi Province), we estimated the reproduction number for the period under consideration in the range 1.273–1.784 and concluded that the population’s mobility, combined with the suspension of the Fengxiao strategy, was a key factor contributing to a subsequent epidemic wave. Fengxiao in China is a reversal of the usual strategy of school closures adopted in many other countries, but the lessons learnt from it may be useful for disease management in other countries where restrictions on the movements across a facility boundary and close monitoring of the infection within the facility are feasible in the long term.

MSC:
92D30 Epidemiology
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