The shifting demographic landscape of pandemic influenza

Shweta Bansal, Babak Pourbohloul, Nathaniel Hupert, Bryan Grenfell, Lauren Ancel Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: As Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza spreads around the globe, it strikes school-age children more often than adults. Although there is some evidence of pre-existing immunity among older adults, this alone may not explain the significant gap in age-specific infection rates. Methods and Findings:Based on a retrospective analysis of pandemic strains of influenza from the last century, we show that school-age children typically experience the highest attack rates in primarily naive populations, with the burden shifting to adults during the subsequent season. Using a parsimonious network-based mathematical model which incorporates the changing distribution of contacts in the susceptible population, we demonstrate that new pandemic strains of influenza are expected to shift the epidemiological landscape in exactly this way. Conclusions:Our analysis provides a simple demographic explanation for the age bias observed for H1N1/09 attack rates, and suggests that this bias may shift in coming months. These results have significant implications for the allocation of public health resources for H1N1/09 and future influenza pandemics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere9360
JournalPloS one
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 26 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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    Bansal, S., Pourbohloul, B., Hupert, N., Grenfell, B., & Meyers, L. A. (2010). The shifting demographic landscape of pandemic influenza. PloS one, 5(2), [e9360]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009360