Secondary cases of influenza were those household contacts who had developed clinical influenza within 5 days of the disease onset in the index patient. Hazard ratios for individual clinical and demographic characteristics of the contact and their index patient were derived from a Cox regression model.
Our results support the major role of children in the dissemination of influenza in households. Vaccination of children or prophylaxis with neuraminidase inhibitors would prevent, respectively, 32-38% and 21-41% of secondary cases caused by exposure to a sick child in the household.
To quantify the risk factors of influenza transmission in households.
Overall in the 279 households, 131 (24.1%) secondary cases occurred among the 543 household contacts. There was an increased risk of influenza transmission in preschool contacts (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.85, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.09 to 3.26) as compared with school-age and adult contacts. There was also an increased risk in contacts exposed to preschool index patients (HR = 1.93, 95% CI = 1.09 to 3.42) and school-age index patients (HR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.07 to 2.65), compared with those exposed to adult index cases. No other factor was associated with transmission of the disease.
Influenza transmission in households is a subject of renewed interest, as the vaccination of children is currently under debate and antiviral treatments have been approved for prophylactic use.
A prospective study conducted during the 1999 to 2000 winter season in France.
Nine hundred and forty-six households where a member, the index patient, had visited their general practitioner (GP) because of an influenza-like illness were enrolled in the study. Five hundred and ten of the index patients tested positive for influenza A (subtype H3N2). A standardised daily questionnaire allowed for identification of secondary cases of influenza among their household contacts, who were followed-up for 15 days. Of the 395 (77%) households that completed the questionnaire, we selected 279 where no additional cases had occurred on the day of the index patient's visit to the GP.
Viboud C, Boëlle PY, Cauchemez S, Lavenu A, Valleron AJ, Flahault A, Carrat F. (2004). Risk factors of influenza transmission in households. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 54(506)