a1 Influenza Research Unit, PHLS Laboratory, St Lukes Hospital, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3NT
Following its reintroduction in 1978 influenza A H1N1 spread widely in the child population. By the autumn of 1979, 75% of 11-year olds entering a boys' boarding school had detectable antibody. The protective effect of previous experience could be assessed during two outbreaks in the school. In the first outbreak in 1979, 90% of those known to have been infected in the previous year were protected against reinfection. In 1983 after strains of the H1N1 subtype had undergone antigenic drift a large outbreak occurred. It was estimated that past infection conferred protection against clinical influenza in 55%. Where past infection resulted in the presence of antibody which reacted with the outbreak strain the attack rate was further reduced. A large number of sub-clinical infections was detected in all groups.
(Received May 15 1985)
(Accepted June 06 1985)