Contact behaviour of children and parental employment behaviour during school closures against the pandemic influenza A (H1N1-2009) in Japan.

The Journal of international medical research

PubMedID: 23613502

Mizumoto K, Yamamoto T, Nishiura H. Contact behaviour of children and parental employment behaviour during school closures against the pandemic influenza A (H1N1-2009) in Japan. J Int Med Res. 2013;41(3):716-24.
OBJECTIVES
To identify epidemiological determinants of the contact behaviour of children and their impact on parental employment, during school closures that took place over the course of the 2009 pandemic influenza (H1N1-2009) in Japan.

METHODS
A retrospective survey was conducted in Japanese households between October 2009 and May 2010 by administration of a standardized questionnaire. Demographic and behavioural variables were explored, in association with the frequency with which children left the home and the risk of parents being absent from work during school closures.

RESULTS
Data from 882 eligible households were analysed. A total of 181/882 (20.5%) of households reported that children left the home for nonessential reasons during school closures. No impact on parental working hours was reported by 742/882 (84.1%) of households. Univariate analyses showed that the frequency with which children left the home was dependent on age, extent of school closure and requirement for special childcare arrangements.

CONCLUSIONS
A greater understanding of age-dependent behaviours, during school closures as a consequence of a pandemic, is required. Consideration of a public policy to permit a paid leave of absence from work for parents during school closures may be beneficial; the cost-effectiveness of such a measure should be assessed in future.