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The Shifting Demographic Landscape of Pandemic Influenza

Author(s): Bansal, Shweta; Pourbohloul, Babak; Hupert, Nathaniel; Grenfell, Bryan T.; Meyers, Lauren Ancel

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Abstract: Background: As Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza spreads around the globe, it strikes school-age children more often than adults. Although there is some evidence of pre-existing immunity among older adults, this alone may not explain the significant gap in age-specific infection rates. Methods and Findings: Based on a retrospective analysis of pandemic strains of influenza from the last century, we show that school-age children typically experience the highest attack rates in primarily naive populations, with the burden shifting to adults during the subsequent season. Using a parsimonious network-based mathematical model which incorporates the changing distribution of contacts in the susceptible population, we demonstrate that new pandemic strains of influenza are expected to shift the epidemiological landscape in exactly this way. Conclusions: Our analysis provides a simple demographic explanation for the age bias observed for H1N1/09 attack rates, and suggests that this bias may shift in coming months. These results have significant implications for the allocation of public health resources for H1N1/09 and future influenza pandemics.
Publication Date: 26-Feb-2010
Electronic Publication Date: 26-Feb-2010
Citation: Bansal, Shweta, Pourbohloul, Babak, Hupert, Nathaniel, Grenfell, Bryan T., Meyers, Lauren Ancel. (2010). The Shifting Demographic Landscape of Pandemic Influenza. PLoS ONE, 5 (2), e9360 - e9360. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009360
DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009360
EISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e9360 - e9360
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: PLoS ONE
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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