1887

Abstract

Aggregation of children in schools has been established to be a key driver of transmission of infectious diseases. Mathematical models of transmission used to predict the impact of control measures, such as vaccination and testing, commonly depend on self-reported contact data. However, the link between self-reported social contacts and pathogen transmission has not been well described. To address this, we used as a model organism to track transmission within two secondary schools in England and test for associations between self-reported social contacts, test positivity and the bacterial strain collected from the same students. Students filled out a social contact survey and their colonization status was ascertained through self-administered swabs from which isolates were sequenced. Isolates from the local community were also sequenced to assess the representativeness of school isolates. A low frequency of genome-linked transmission precluded a formal analysis of links between genomic and social networks, suggesting that transmission within schools is too rare to make it a viable tool for this purpose. Whilst we found no evidence that schools are an important route of transmission, increased colonization rates found within schools imply that school-age children may be an important source of community transmission.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Wellcome Trust (Award 211864/Z/18/Z)
    • Principle Award Recipient: NotApplicable
  • Royal Society (Award 206250/Z/17/Z)
    • Principle Award Recipient: AndrewConlan
  • Evelyn Trust (Award 17/14)
    • Principle Award Recipient: AndrewConlan
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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2023-04-19
2024-06-25
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