Objectives: Influenza household transmission studies are required to guide prevention strategies but most passively recruit index cases that seek healthcare. We investigated A(H1N1)pdm09 transmission in a household-based cohort during 2009.
Methods: Health-workers visited 270 households weekly, and collected swabs from influenza-like-illness cases. If A(H1N1)pdm09 was RT-PCR-confirmed, all household members had symptoms assessed and swabs collected daily for 10-15 days. Viral RNA was quantified and sequenced and serology performed on pre-pandemic sera.
Results: Index cases were detected in 20 households containing 81 people. 98.5% lacked A(H1N1)pdm09 neutralizing antibodies in pre-pandemic sera. Eleven (18.6%, 95% CI 10.7-30.4%) of 59 contacts were infected. Virus genetic diversity within households was negligible and less than between households. Index and secondary cases were distributed between mothers, daughters and sons, and had similar virus-RNA shedding and symptom dynamics. Fathers were rarely infected. Five secondary cases (45%) had no apparent symptoms and three shed virus before symptoms. Secondary infection was associated with index case wet cough (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.22-1.99).
Conclusions: In this cohort of A(H1N1)pdm09 susceptible persons, virus sequencing was capable of discriminating household from community transmission. Household transmission involved mothers and children but rarely fathers. Asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic shedding was common.
Keywords: Antibody; Household; Index; Influenza; Pandemic; Secondary; Serial interval; Shedding; Symptoms; Transmission.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.