Seminar by Cuc Tran on Translating Mathematical Models into Public Health Practice: The Control Flu School-located Influenza Vaccination Program

Posted on Wed, Sep 18 2013 11:29:00

A seminar was given at SACEMA on 13 September by Cuc Tran, on Translating Mathematical Models into Public Health Practice: The Control Flu School-located Influenza Vaccination Program.

Cuc is a PhD Student at the Department of Environmental & Global Health, a Training Fellow at the Clinical & Translational Science Institute and a Research Associate at the Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida. She came to Cape Town for the big international flu conference: Options for the Control of Influenza VIII,
5-10 September 2013, at which she presented a poster.

ABSTRACT
In the United States (US), seasonal influenza kills about 36,000 people and costs ~$87 billion dollars each year. Despite high vaccination coverage in the elderly population, 90% of influenza related deaths still occur among those 65 and older. An alternative approach reinforced by mathematical models supports immunization of school age children to indirectly protect the elderly and community (herd/community immunity).
The models suggest immunizing 20% of children 5-18 years old will have a greater impact in protecting the elderly than immunizing 90% of those over 65 years old. And, immunizing 70% of school children will protect an entire community. This strategy is supported by the following facts: a) schools are an efficient source of community transmission; b) children shed more virus and do so for a longer duration than adults; and c) the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV), also known as FluMist is ~80% effective in preventing illness and transmission in children.
School-located influenza Vaccination (SLIV) programs have been utilized as a strategy to mass immunize this age group during school hours. Since 2009/10, the Control Flu SLIV program, located in Alachua County Florida has offered free LAIV to all healthy children attending public and private schools and has achieved a high influenza immunization rate (50-60%).

This presentation will provide an overview of the Control Flu program's journey from a concept based on mathematical models to public health practice. Additionally, preliminary data and ongoing research projects will be discussed.