Engineering Effective Response to Outbreaks of Influenza
Author(s)Finkelstein, Stan Neil; Larson, Richard Charles; Nigmatulina, Karima; Teytelman, Anna
Objective. Allocation of vaccines and deployment of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are critical to controlling influenza. We examine how these policies can minimize the societal impact. Methods. An engineering systems framing and modeling approach incorporates theories and data on the spread of influenza. Models employed data from the CDC and state governments on cases and vaccine administered during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, and published literature on how to reduce human-to-human contacts. Results. During the outbreak, barely half of all states received proportional allotments of vaccine in time to protect any citizens, while fewer sought vaccine after the peak. While individuals prone to contract and spread infection drive the progression, diligent hygiene practices and social distancing measures can drive down the number of cases. Conclusions. NPIs are highly effective in reducing the spread of influenza before, but also after vaccine is administered. Policies to allocate vaccine in direct proportion to population should be replaced and larger stocks sent to regions where greater numbers of persons stand to be protected.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2014-07