Transmission of novel influenza A(H1N1) in households with post-exposure antiviral prophylaxis

M. van Boven, T. Donker, M. van der Lubben, R.B. van Gageldonk-Lafeber, D.E. te Beest, M. Koopmans, A Meijer, A. Timen, C. Swaan, A. Dalhuijsen, S. Hahne, A. van den Hoek, P. Teunis, M.A.B. van der Sande, J. Wallinga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Despite impressive advances in our understanding of the biology of novel influenza A(H1N1) virus, little is as yet known about its transmission efficiency in close contact places such as households, schools, and workplaces. These are widely believed to be key in supporting propagating spread, and it is therefore of importance to assess the transmission levels of the virus in such settings.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We estimate the transmissibility of novel influenza A(H1N1) in 47 households in the Netherlands using stochastic epidemic models. All households contained a laboratory confirmed index case, and antiviral drugs (oseltamivir) were given to both the index case and other households members within 24 hours after detection of the index case. Among the 109 household contacts there were 9 secondary infections in 7 households. The overall estimated secondary attack rate is low (0.075, 95%CI: 0.037-0.13). There is statistical evidence indicating that older persons are less susceptible to infection than younger persons (relative susceptibility of older persons: 0.11, 95%CI: 0.024-0.43. Notably, the secondary attack rate from an older to a younger person is 0.35 (95%CI: 0.14-0.61) when using an age classification of <or=12 versus >12 years, and 0.28 (95%CI: 0.12-0.50) when using an age classification of <or=18 versus >18 years.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results indicate that the overall household transmission levels of novel influenza A(H1N1) in antiviral-treated households were low in the early stage of the epidemic. The relatively high rate of adult-to-child transmission indicates that control measures focused on this transmission route will be most effective in minimizing the total number of infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e11442
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE [E]
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype
  • Influenza, Human
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oseltamivir
  • Young Adult


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