[Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
Novel Framework for Assessing Epidemiologic Effects of Influenza Epidemics and Pandemics
Carrie Reed, Matthew Biggerstaff, Lyn Finelli, Lisa M. Koonin, Denise Beauvais, Amra Uzicanin, Andrew Plummer, Joe Bresee, Stephen C. Redd, and Daniel B. Jernigan
Author affiliations: Author affiliation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
The effects of influenza on a population are attributable to the clinical severity of illness and the number of persons infected, which can vary greatly between seasons or pandemics. To create a systematic framework for assessing the public health effects of an emerging pandemic, we reviewed data from past influenza seasons and pandemics to characterize severity and transmissibility (based on ranges of these measures in the United States) and outlined a formal assessment of the potential effects of a novel virus. The assessment was divided into 2 periods. Because early in a pandemic, measurement of severity and transmissibility is uncertain, we used a broad dichotomous scale in the initial assessment to divide the range of historic values. In the refined assessment, as more data became available, we categorized those values more precisely. By organizing and prioritizing data collection, this approach may inform an evidence-based assessment of pandemic effects and guide decision making.