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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sarah O'Brien
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Children are important transmitters of infection. Within schools they encounter large numbers of contacts and infections can spread easily causing outbreaks. However, not all schools are affected equally. We conducted a retrospective analysis of school outbreaks to identify factors associated with the risk of gastroenteritis, influenza, rash or other outbreaks. Data on reported school outbreaks in England were obtained from Public Health England and linked with data from the Department for Education and the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted). Primary and all-through schools were found to be at increased risk of outbreaks, compared with secondary schools (odds ratio (OR) 5.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.50–7.58 and OR 4.66, 95% CI 3.27–6.61, respectively). School size was also significantly associated with the risk of outbreaks, with higher odds associated with larger schools. Attack rates were higher in gastroenteritis and influenza outbreaks, with lower attack rates associated with rashes (relative risk 0.17, 95% CI 0.15–0.20). Deprivation and Ofsted rating were not associated with either outbreak occurrence or the subsequent attack rate. This study identifies primary and all-through schools as key settings for health protection interventions. Public health teams need to work closely with these schools to encourage early identification and reporting of outbreaks.
Author(s): Donaldson AL, Harris JP, Vivancos R, O'Brien SJ
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Epidemiology & Infection
Online publication date: 18/11/2020
Acceptance date: 12/11/2020
Date deposited: 21/06/2021
ISSN (print): 0950-2688
ISSN (electronic): 1469-4409
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
PubMed id: 3320349
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