Objectives: Information on the effectiveness of interventions regarding control in closed institutional settings, including prisons, is limited. This study gathered evidence relating to influenza control in an Australian prison.
Study design: This study built on a 2009 H1N1 outbreak investigation at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
Methods: Influenza surveillance data, ACT 2010 Inmate Health Survey data, New South Wales 2001 and 2009 Inmate Health Survey data, ACT Department of Corrective Services administrative data, and ACT Health clinical data were analysed.
Results: In 2011, the AMC was exposed to influenza virus, resulting in a single case. Public health activities included exclusion of symptomatic cases from the health facility, isolation of cases, and quarantine of contacts. Contact between prisoners and the ACT community was maintained; the AMC detainee visitor rate was one visitor per prisoner every 10 days.
Conclusions: The rehabilitative benefits of human contact for AMC detainees were not compromised during the surveillance period, despite the potential that a higher visitor rate may suggest. This highlights some features of the AMC which make its operational context different from many other correctional settings, but gives some indication of how good public health practice supports human rights.
Copyright © 2012 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.