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Individual Correlates of Infectivity of Influenza A Virus Infections in Households.

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Tsang TK, Fang VJ, Chan KH, Ip DK, Leung GM, Peiris JS, Cowling BJ, Cauchemez S,


Tsang TK, Fang VJ, Chan KH, Ip DK, Leung GM, Peiris JS, Cowling BJ, Cauchemez S, (click to view)

Tsang TK, Fang VJ, Chan KH, Ip DK, Leung GM, Peiris JS, Cowling BJ, Cauchemez S,

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PloS one 2016 5 611(5) e0154418 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0154418

Abstract
BACKGROUND
Identifying individual correlates of infectivity of influenza virus is important for disease control and prevention. Viral shedding is used as a proxy measure of infectivity in many studies. However, the evidence for this is limited.

METHODS
In a detailed study of influenza virus transmission within households in 2008-12, we recruited index cases with confirmed influenza infection from outpatient clinics, and followed up their household contacts for 7-10 days to identify secondary infections. We used individual-based hazard models to characterize the relationship between individual viral shedding and individual infectivity.

RESULTS
We analyzed 386 households with 1147 household contacts. Index cases were separated into 3 groups according to their estimated level of viral shedding at symptom onset. We did not find a statistically significant association of virus shedding with transmission. Index cases in medium and higher viral shedding groups were estimated to have 21% (95% CI: -29%, 113%) and 44% (CI: -16%, 167%) higher infectivity, compared with those in the lower viral shedding group.

CONCLUSIONS
Individual viral load measured by RT-PCR in the nose and throat was at most weakly correlated with individual infectivity in households. Other correlates of infectivity should be examined in future studies.

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