BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3966 (Published 29 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3966

Many schools were closed when the first wave of swine flu hit, but are such strategies effective? An analysis of the incidence of influenza-like illnesses during a nationwide school strike in Israel in 2000 showed that the steepest drop in the ratio of influenza-like diagnoses to non-respiratory diagnoses occurred two weeks after the start of the strike. The changes in the ratio for school children were significant for the strike year compared with other years. The authors conclude that school closure should be considered part of any containment strategy during an influenza pandemic (Epidemiology and Infection 2009;137:169-76, doi:10.1017/S0950268809002556).

Acupuncture is used to help treat many conditions, but little is known about its physiological effects. A study of the effects of acupuncture on the oral microcirculation in healthy volunteers showed characteristic changes in the intervention group, but not the controls. The tortuousness of capillary loops and the diameter of the afferent loop changed significantly over time with acupuncture. Whether these changes lead to a demonstrable therapeutic outcome remains unclear (Acupuncture in Medicine …

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