Using Mathematical Models to Assess Responses to an Outbreak of an Emerged Viral Respiratory Disease

3.8 The effect of quarantining arriving travelers

Page last updated: April 2006

If quarantining means complete isolation of arriving travelers from at-risk regions with full compliance, there is no chance of the infection getting into the community. However, this option is very costly and only likely to be acceptable when the infection is known to have a very high case-fatality rate.

For our calculations we looked at home-quarantining arrival passengers for two days, i.e. long enough for all infected travelers to become symptomatic. We assumed 100% compliance and that infected arrival passengers are able to infect only their household members. Household members of incoming travelers mix, as usual, in the community until the incoming household member shows symptoms (if ever). Figure 3.8 shows the effect of these interventions on the probability that an infected traveler initiates an epidemic upon arrival.
The cumulative effects of immediate presentation, partial home quarantine and border screening for different basic reproduction numbers on the probability that an infected traveler is not detected by screening and initiates an epidemic upon arrival.

Figure 3.8 The cumulative effects of immediate presentation, partial home quarantine and border screening for different basic reproduction numbers on the probability that an infected traveler is not detected by screening and initiates an epidemic upon arrival. Calculations assume a flight duration of 12 hours, a peaked infectiousness function, that household members are infected immediately upon the traveler returning home, that household members mix normally in the community up until the infected traveler develops symptoms, and that the proportion of within household transmission is approximately 0.35, 0.25 and 0.22 for R0 equal to 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5, respectively.

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