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Each year seasonal influenza in Australia causes an estimated 18,000 hospitalisations, 300,000 General Practitioner consultations, and 1,500 to 3,500 deaths (Newall et al., 2007). Influenza and other viral infections are commonly spread person-to-person by inhaling infectious droplets transmitted when talking, coughing or sneezing (NSW Ministry of Health, 2011). Viruses can survive for an hour or more in the air of closed environments (Weber and Stilianakis, 2008); transmission of the virus from tissues to hands is possible for up to 15 minutes, and from surfaces to hands for up to five minutes (Bean et al., 1982). Individuals in closed communities such as schools, hospitals and aged care facilities are at high risk of contracting an infectious illness as the spread of the virus is aided by humidity and diminished ventilation (Collignon and Carnie, 2006). Transmission risks in universities are similar to those in other closed communities as they host a large number of students and staff daily; these students and staff use shared facilities and spend time indoors in classrooms, libraries and offices. This presents a serious public health issue for universities (Beaton et al., 2007).

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Open Access Conference Paper

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Open Access