Standardizing scenarios to assess the need to respond to an influenza pandemic

Martin I Meltzer, Manoj Gambhir, Charisma Y Atkins, David L Swerdlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


An outbreak of human infections with an avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was first reported in eastern China by the World Health Organization on 1 April 2013 [1]. This novel influenza virus was fatal in approximately onethird of the 135 confirmed cases detected in the 4 months following its initial identification [2],and limited humanto- human H7N9 virus transmission could not be excluded in some Chinese clusters of cases [3,4]. There was, and still is, the possibility that the virus would mutate to the point where there would be sustained human-to-human transmission. Given that most of the human population has no prior immunity (either due to natural challenge or vaccine induced), such a strain presents the danger of starting an influenza pandemic. In response to such a threat, the Joint Modeling Unit at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was asked to conduct a rapid assessment of both the potential burden of unmitigated disease and the possible impacts of different mitigation measures.We were tasked to evaluate the 6 following interventions: invasive mechanical ventilators, influenza antiviral drugs for treatment (but not large-scale prophylaxis), influenza vaccines, respiratory protective devices for healthcare workers and surgical face masks for patients, school closings to reduce transmission, and airport-based screening to identify those ill with novel influenza virus entering the United States. This supplement presents reports on the methods and estimates for the first 5 listed interventions, and in this introduction we outline the general approach and standardized epidemiological assumptions used in all the articles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S1 - S8
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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