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Can we reduce the spread of influenza in schools with face masks?

Abstract

There is sufficient evidence indicating that masks, if worn properly and consistently, are an effective nonpharmaceutical intervention in the control of disease spread. The use of masks during a pandemic can minimize the spread of influenza and its economic impact, yet mask-wearing compliance in adults is often poor. Educating the public on the effectiveness of masks can increase compliance whilst reducing morbidity and mortality. With targeted campaigns and the help of the fashion industry, masks may become a popular accessory amongst school children. As children are effective source-transmitters of infection, encouraging a trend toward such increased mask-wearing could result in a significant, self-perpetuating reduction mechanism for limiting influenza transmission in schools during a pandemic.

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