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Influenza Risk Management: Lessons Learned from an A(H1N1) pdm09 Outbreak Investigation in an Operational Military Setting
  • Published Date:
    Jul 10 2013
  • Source:
    PLoS One. 2013; 8(7).
Filetype[PDF - 177.27 KB]


Details:
  • Description:
    Background

    At the onset of an influenza pandemic, when the severity of a novel strain is still undetermined and there is a threat of introduction into a new environment, e.g., via the deployment of military troops, sensitive screening criteria and conservative isolation practices are generally recommended.

    Objectives

    In response to elevated rates of influenza-like illness among U.S. military base camps in Kuwait, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 partnered with local U.S. Army medical units to conduct an A(H1N1) pdm09 outbreak investigation.

    Patients/Methods

    Initial clinical data and nasal specimens were collected via the existent passive surveillance system and active surveillance was conducted using a modified version of the World Health Organization/U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention influenza-like illness case definition [fever (T > 100.5˚F/38˚C) in addition to cough and/or sore throat in the previous 72 hours] as the screening criteria. Samples were tested via real-time reverse-transcription PCR and sequenced for comparison to global A(H1N1) pdm09 viruses from the same time period.

    Results

    The screening criteria used in Kuwait proved insensitive, capturing only 16% of A(H1N1) pdm09-positive individuals. While still not ideal, using cough as the sole screening criteria would have increased sensitivity to 73%.

    Conclusions

    The results of and lessons learned from this outbreak investigation suggest that pandemic influenza risk management should be a dynamic process (as information becomes available regarding true attack rates and associated mortality, screening and isolation criteria should be re-evaluated and revised as appropriate), and that military operational environments present unique challenges to influenza surveillance.

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