Public health tool from the '60s could help mitigate potential flu disaster

October 31, 2005

A tool developed in the 1960s for preventing road traffic injuries could help in preparing for the next influenza pandemic, say researchers in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

The prospect of a pandemic with avian influenza is an urgent concern for public health leaders worldwide, and yet in most countries pandemic influenza plans are only in a draft form and lack legal status. The researchers say that the "Haddon matrix," a tool developed by Dr William Haddon Jr. for improving traffic safety, could help public health officials tackle the challenges of an influenza pandemic.

The original 1960s matrix is a grid that breaks down a road traffic injury into the various factors that contributed to the injury before, during, and after the event. The researchers have adapted this matrix into a tool to help divide the complex problem of influenza planning into more manageable segments. Using the matrix, they say, allows health planners to select policies or actions with the greatest feasibility or influence.

The researchers--led by Dr Daniel Barnett at the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness, United States, and Dr Ran Balicer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel--show how the tool can be adapted to local conditions in different countries.

For example, they use the tool to analyze Thailand's recent experience in controlling the human spread of H5N1 influenza infection. By October 2004, 17 patients with the infection had been identified, of whom 12 had died, but there were no human cases between October 2004 and August 2005.

"Through the lens of the pre-event Haddon matrix factors," they say, "one can identify the strengths in Thailand's preparedness efforts, as well as opportunities for further enhancements." Some of the strengths identified by the matrix include a nationwide influenza surveillance campaign, which started in October 2004, as well as Thailand's recent decision to test H5N1 vaccines in "open range" poultry (i.e. non-commercial poultry, such as backyard poultry and free-range ducks).

The planning window for an influenza pandemic "may be rapidly closing," say the researchers. "As an efficient yet comprehensive analytic approach, the Haddon matrix lends itself to the types of rapid and complex decision making necessary to plan for and respond more effectively to an urgent pandemic health threat."
-end-
Citation: Barnett DJ, Balicer RD, Lucey DR, Everly GS Jr, Omer SB, et al. (2005) A systematic analytic approach to pandemic influenza preparedness planning. PLoS Med 2(12): e359.

CONTACT: Daniel J. Barnett, MD, MPH
dbarnett@jhsph.edu

Ran D. Balicer, MD, MPH
rbalicer@netvision.net.il

PLEASE MENTION THE OPEN-ACCESS JOURNAL PLoS Medicine (www.plosmedicine.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THIS ARTICLE AND PROVIDE A LINK TO THE FREELY-AVAILABLE TEXT. THANK YOU.

All works published in PLoS Medicine are open access. Everything is immediately available without cost to anyone, anywhere--to read, download, redistribute, include in databases, and otherwise use--subject only to the condition that the original authorship is properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.

PLOS

Related Pandemic Articles from Brightsurf:

Areas where the next pandemic could emerge are revealed
An international team of human- and animal health experts has incorporated environmental, social and economic considerations -- including air transit centrality - to identify key areas at risk of leading to the next pandemic.

Narcissists love being pandemic 'essential workers'
There's one group of essential workers who especially enjoy being called a ''hero'' during the COVID-19 pandemic: narcissists.

COVID-19: Air quality influences the pandemic
An interdisciplinary team from the University of Geneva and the ETH Z├╝rich spin-off Meteodat investigated possible interactions between acutely elevated levels of fine particulate matter and the virulence of the coronavirus disease.

People who purchased firearms during pandemic more likely to be suicidal
People who purchase a firearm during the pandemic are more likely to be suicidal than other firearm owners, according to a Rutgers study.

Measles outbreaks likely in wake of COVID-19 pandemic
Major measles outbreaks will likely occur during 2021 as an unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new academic article.

The COVID-19 pandemic: How US universities responded
A new George Mason University study found that the majority of university announcements occurred on the same day as the World Health Organization's pandemic declaration.

Researchers find evidence of pandemic fatigue
A new study from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology shows that the behavioral responses to COVID-19 differed by age.

Excessive alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic
The full impact of COVID-19 on alcohol use is not yet known, but rates have been rising during the first few months of the pandemic.

How fear encourages physical distancing during pandemic
Despite guidelines plastered on the walls and floors of grocery and retail stores encouraging customers to maintain six-feet of physical distance during the pandemic, many do not.

COVID-19 pandemic and $16 trillion virus
This Viewpoint aggregates mortality, morbidity, mental health conditions, and direct economic losses to estimate the total cost of the pandemic in the US on the optimistic assumption that it will be substantially contained by the fall of 2021.

Read More: Pandemic News and Pandemic Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.