Social and economic impact of school closure resulting from pandemic influenza A/H1N1

J Infect. 2011 Mar;62(3):200-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2011.01.007. Epub 2011 Jan 20.


Objectives: On May 23, 2009, a school was closed for one week plus mass chemoprophylaxis to contain the pandemic after a kindergartener tested positive for pandemic influenza A/H1N1. We evaluated the impact of school closure on the students, families, and the school.

Methods: Households were surveyed using a questionnaire to obtain information on adherence to, socio-economic impact by and inconveniences of school closure. The school principal was interviewed to assess the impact on the staff. Compliance and adverse events of chemoprophylaxis were assessed.

Results: Of the 232 (14%) households surveyed, 29 (13%) went to public places or gatherings at least once during the closure. Sixty-one (27%) of 229 respondents reported workplace absenteeism, and 42 (18%) of 231 respondents had wage loss. In total, 194 working days lost and 6433 US dollars wage lost were noted. The school put in 6573 h of manpower during the period. For chemoprophylaxis, 6 (6%) kindergartners missed at least one dose; and 6 (6%) reported adverse events, but none sought medical care. Overall, 169 (73%) families were at least moderately supportive of school closure.

Conclusions: With assistance from the school, short-term school closure was supported by the majority of families despite economic inconvenience to the households.

MeSH terms

  • Chemoprevention / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control / economics*
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / isolation & purification*
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / transmission
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Schools*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taiwan / epidemiology