Vaccination likely prevented 700,000–1,500,000 clinical cases, 4,000–10,000 hospitalizations, and 200–500 deaths.
In April 2009, the United States began a response to the emergence of a pandemic influenza virus strain: A(H1N1)pdm09. Vaccination began in October 2009. By using US surveillance data (April 12, 2009–April 10, 2010) and vaccine coverage estimates (October 3, 2009–April 18, 2010), we estimated that the A(H1N1)pdm09 virus vaccination program prevented 700,000–1,500,000 clinical cases, 4,000–10,000 hospitalizations, and 200–500 deaths. We found that the national health effects were greatly influenced by the timing of vaccine administration and the effectiveness of the vaccine. We estimated that recommendations for priority vaccination of targeted priority groups were not inferior to other vaccination prioritization strategies. These results emphasize the need for relevant surveillance data to facilitate a rapid evaluation of vaccine recommendations and effects.
Influenza; viruses; vaccine; vaccination; A(H1N1)pdm09; H1N1; pandemic; model
School closures are used to reduce seasonal and pandemic influenza transmission, yet evidence of their effectiveness is sparse. In Argentina, annual winter school breaks occur during the influenza season, providing an opportunity to study this intervention. We used 2005–2008 national weekly surveillance data of visits to a health care provider for influenza-like illness (ILI) from all provinces. Using Serfling-specified Poisson regressions and population-based census denominators, we developed incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for the 3 weeks before, 2 weeks during, and 3 weeks after the break. For persons 5–64 years of age, IRRs were <1 for at least 1 week after the break. Observed rates returned to expected by the third week after the break; overall decrease among persons of all ages was 14%. The largest decrease was among children 5–14 years of age during the week after the break (37% lower IRR). Among adults, effects were weaker and delayed. Two-week winter school breaks significantly decreased visits to a health care provider for ILI among school-aged children and nonelderly adults.
Influenza; school closure; community mitigation; social isolation; Argentina; winter; viruses; respiratory infections
Laboratory; testing; capacity; pandemic influenza; influenza; virus; public health; commentary
Hospitalizations; elderly; pneumonia; community-acquired staphyloccal pneumonia; commentary
Pandemic Influenza, Reopening Schools, and Returning to Work
In this issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Victoria Davey and Robert Glass present a paper (1) in which they consider the question of when to “switch off” community-based interventions designed to reduce the spread of pandemic influenza. These authors attempt to answers questions such as when it would be optimal to reopen schools that have been closed as part of a nonpharmaceutical, communitywide influenza mitigation strategy.
Influenza pandemic; mathematical models; reopening schools; returning to work; commentary
epidemic modeling; mathematical modeling; black death; plague; book review
syndromic surveillance; bioterrorist; anthrax; commentary
Many severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patients have multiple possible incubation periods due to multiple contact dates. Multiple contact dates cannot be used in standard statistical analytic techniques, however. I present a simple spreadsheet-based method that uses multiple contact dates to calculate the possible incubation periods of SARS.
severe acute respiratory syndrome; incubation period; multiple contact dates; estimation; spreadsheet
influenza; pandemic; preparedness; bioterrorism; resource allocation; priorities
This article presents a model and decision criteria for evaluating a person’s risk of pre- or postexposure smallpox vaccination in light of serious vaccine-related adverse events (death, postvaccine encephalitis and progressive vaccinia). Even at a 1-in-10 risk of 1,000 initial smallpox cases, a person in a population of 280 million has a greater risk for serious vaccine-related adverse events than a risk for smallpox. For a healthcare worker to accept preexposure vaccination, the risk for contact with an infectious smallpox case-patient must be >1 in 100, and the probability of 1,000 initial cases must be >1 in 1,000. A member of an investigation team would accept preexposure vaccination if his or her anticipated risk of contact is 1 in 2.5 and the risk of attack is assumed to be >1 in 16,000. The only circumstances in which postexposure vaccination would not be accepted are the following: if vaccine efficacy were <1%, the risk of transmission were <1%, and (simultaneously) the risk for serious vaccine-related adverse events were >1 in 5,000.
To evaluate community-based values for avoiding pandemic influenza (A) H1N1 (pH1N1) illness and vaccination-related adverse events in adults and children.
Adult community members were randomly selected from a nationally representative research panel to complete an internet survey (response rate = 65%; n = 718). Respondents answered a series of time trade-off questions to value four hypothetical health state scenarios for varying ages (1, 8, 35, or 70 years): uncomplicated pH1N1 illness, pH1N1 illness-related hospitalization, severe allergic reaction to the pH1N1 vaccine, and Guillain-Barré syndrome. We calculated descriptive statistics for time trade-off amounts and derived quality adjusted life year losses for these events. Multivariate regression analyses evaluated the effect of scenario age, as well as respondent socio-demographic and health characteristics on time trade-off amounts.
Respondents were willing to trade more time to avoid the more severe outcomes, hospitalization and Guillain-Barré syndrome. In our adjusted and unadjusted analyses, age of the patient in the scenario was significantly associated with time trade-off amounts (p-value<0.05), with respondents willing to trade more time to prevent outcomes in children versus adults. Persons who had received the pH1N1 vaccination were willing to trade significantly more time to avoid hospitalization, severe allergic reaction, and Guillain-Barré syndrome, controlling for other variables in adjusted analyses.(p-value<0.05)
Community members placed the highest value on preventing outcomes in children, compared with adults, and the time trade-off values reported were consistent with the severity of the outcomes presented. Considering these public values along with other decision-making factors may help policy makers improve the allocation of pandemic vaccine resources.
From April 2009 through March 2010, during the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 outbreak, ≈8.2 million prescriptions for influenza neuraminidase-inhibiting antiviral drugs were filled in the United States. We estimated the number of hospitalizations likely averted due to use of these antiviral medications. After adjusting for prescriptions that were used for prophylaxis and personal stockpiles, as well as for patients who did not complete their drug regimen, we estimated the filled prescriptions prevented ≈8,400–12,600 hospitalizations (on the basis of median values). Approximately 60% of these prevented hospitalizations were among adults 18–64 years of age, with the remainder almost equally divided between children 0–17 years of age and adults >65 years of age. Public health officials should consider these estimates an indication of success of treating patients during the 2009 pandemic and a warning of the need for renewed planning to cope with the next pandemic.
antiviral drugs; hospitalizations; impact; influenza; pandemic; pandemic (H1N1) 2009; research; respiratory infections; United States; viruses
Pandemic influenza A(H1N1) (pH1N1) was first identified in North America in April 2009. Vaccination against pH1N1 commenced in the U.S. in October 2009 and continued through January 2010. The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of pH1N1 vaccination.
A computer simulation model was developed to predict costs and health outcomes for a pH1N1 vaccination program using inactivated vaccine compared to no vaccination. Probabilities, costs and quality-of-life weights were derived from emerging primary data on pH1N1 infections in the US, published and unpublished data for seasonal and pH1N1 illnesses, supplemented by expert opinion. The modeled target population included hypothetical cohorts of persons aged 6 months and older stratified by age and risk. The analysis used a one-year time horizon for most endpoints but also includes longer-term costs and consequences of long-term sequelae deaths. A societal perspective was used. Indirect effects (i.e., herd effects) were not included in the primary analysis. The main endpoint was the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio in dollars per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses were conducted.
For vaccination initiated prior to the outbreak, pH1N1 vaccination was cost-saving for persons 6 months to 64 years under many assumptions. For those without high risk conditions, incremental cost-effectiveness ratios ranged from $8,000–$52,000/QALY depending on age and risk status. Results were sensitive to the number of vaccine doses needed, costs of vaccination, illness rates, and timing of vaccine delivery.
Vaccination for pH1N1 for children and working-age adults is cost-effective compared to other preventive health interventions under a wide range of scenarios. The economic evidence was consistent with target recommendations that were in place for pH1N1 vaccination. We also found that the delays in vaccine availability had a substantial impact on the cost-effectiveness of vaccination.
Dengue vaccines are currently in development and policymakers need appropriate economic studies to determine their potential financial and public health impact. We searched five databases (PubMed, EMBASE, LILAC, EconLit, and WHOLIS) to identify health economics studies of dengue. Forty-three manuscripts were identified that provided primary data: 32 report economic burden of dengue and nine are comparative economic analyses assessing various interventions. The remaining two were a willingness-to-pay study and a policymaker survey. An expert panel reviewed the existing dengue economic literature and recommended future research to fill information gaps. Although dengue is an important vector-borne disease, the economic literature is relatively sparse and results have often been conflicting because of use of inconsistent assumptions. Health economic research specific to dengue is urgently needed to ensure informed decision making on the various options for controlling and preventing this disease.
Effective surveillance for infectious diseases is an essential component of public health. There are few studies estimating the cost-effectiveness of starting or improving disease surveillance. We present a cost-effectiveness analysis the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy in Africa.
To assess the impact of the IDSR in Africa, we used pre- and post- IDSR meningococcal meningitis surveillance data from Burkina Faso (1996–2002 and 2003–2007). IDSR implementation was correlated with a median reduction of 2 weeks to peak of outbreaks (25th percentile 1 week; 75th percentile 4 weeks). IDSR was also correlated with a reduction of 43 meningitis cases per 100,000 (25th–40: 75th-129). Assuming the correlations between reductions in time to peak of outbreaks and cases are related, the cost-effectiveness of IDSR was $23 per case averted (25th-$30; 75th - cost saving), and $98 per meningitis-related death averted (25th-$140: 75th – cost saving).
We cannot absolutely claim that the measured differences were due to IDSR. We believe, however, that it is reasonable to claim that IDSR can improve the cost-effectiveness of public health surveillance.
To determine the effects of school closure, we surveyed 214 households after a 1-week elementary school closure because of pandemic (H1N1) 2009. Students spent 77% of the closure days at home, 69% of students visited at least 1 other location, and 79% of households reported that adults missed no days of work to watch children.
Influenza A virus; influenza; H1N1 subtype; pandemic (H1N1) 2009; compliance; economics; school closure; Pennsylvania; viruses; dispatch
In the United States, the risk of rabies transmission to humans in most situations of possible exposure is unknown. Controlled studies on rabies are clearly not possible. Thus, the limited data on risk has led to the frequent administration of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), often in inappropriate circumstances.
We used the Delphi method to obtain an expert group consensus estimate of the risk of rabies transmission to humans in seven scenarios of potential rabies exposure. We also surveyed and discussed the merits of recommending rabies PEP for each scenario.
The median risk of rabies transmission without rabies PEP for a bite exposure by a skunk, bat, cat, and dog was estimated to be 0.05, 0.001, 0.001, and 0.00001, respectively. Rabies PEP was unanimously recommended in these scenarios. However, rabies PEP was overwhelmingly not recommended for non-bite exposures (e.g. dog licking hand but unavailable for subsequent testing), estimated to have less than 1 in 1,000,000 (0.000001) risk of transmission.
Our results suggest that there are many common situations in which the risk of rabies transmission is so low that rabies PEP should not be recommended. These risk estimates also provide a key parameter for cost-effective models of human rabies prevention and can be used to educate health professionals about situation-specific administration of rabies PEP.
Through July 2009, a total of 43,677 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A pandemic (H1N1) 2009 were reported in the United States, which is likely a substantial underestimate of the true number. Correcting for under-ascertainment using a multiplier model, we estimate that 1.8 million–5.7 million cases occurred, including 9,000–21,000 hospitalizations.
Influenza; pandemic; pandemic (H1N1) 2009; viruses; dispatch; expedited
Economic assessments and modeling studies suggest that these programs yield cost savings and public health benefits.
Progressive elimination of rabies in wildlife has been a general strategy in Canada and the United States; common campaign tactics are trap–vaccinate–release (TVR), point infection control (PIC), and oral rabies vaccination (ORV). TVR and PIC are labor intensive and the most expensive tactics per unit area (≈$616/km2 [in 2008 Can$, converted from the reported $450/km2 in 1991 Can$] and ≈$612/km2 [$500/km2 in 1999 Can$], respectively), but these tactics have proven crucial to elimination of raccoon rabies in Canada and to maintenance of ORV zones for preventing the spread of raccoon rabies in the United States. Economic assessments have shown that during rabies epizootics, costs of human postexposure prophylaxis, pet vaccination, public health, and animal control spike. Modeling studies, involving diverse assumptions, have shown that ORV programs can be cost-efficient and yield benefit:cost ratios >1.0.
Coyote; economics; fox; North America; oral rabies vaccination; rabies; raccoon; viruses; zoonoses; synopsis
Communicable diseases are the leading causes of illness, deaths, and disability in sub-Saharan Africa. To address these threats, countries within the World Health Organization (WHO) African region adopted a regional strategy called Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR). This strategy calls for streamlining resources, tools, and approaches to better detect and respond to the region's priority communicable disease. The purpose of this study was to analyze the incremental costs of establishing and subsequently operating activities for detection and response to the priority diseases under the IDSR.
We collected cost data for IDSR activities at central, regional, district, and primary health care center levels from Burkina Faso, Eritrea, and Mali, countries where IDSR is being fully implemented. These cost data included personnel, transportation items, office consumable goods, media campaigns, laboratory and response materials and supplies, and annual depreciation of buildings, equipment, and vehicles.
Over the period studied (2002–2005), the average cost to implement the IDSR program in Eritrea was $0.16 per capita, $0.04 in Burkina Faso and $0.02 in Mali. In each country, the mean annual cost of IDSR was dependent on the health structure level, ranging from $35,899 to $69,920 at the region level, $10,790 to $13,941 at the district level, and $1,181 to $1,240 at the primary health care center level. The proportions spent on each IDSR activity varied due to demand for special items (e.g., equipment, supplies, drugs and vaccines), service availability, distance, and the epidemiological profile of the country.
This study demonstrates that the IDSR strategy can be considered a low cost public health system although the benefits have yet to be quantified. These data can also be used in future studies of the cost-effectiveness of IDSR.
Postexposure prophylaxis may avert Q fever illness and death when the probability of exposure is above the population-specific threshold point.
Coxiella burnetii is a category B bioterrorism agent. We numerically evaluated the risks and benefits from postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) after an intentional release of C. burnetii to the general population, pregnant women, and other high-risk populations. For each group, we constructed a decision tree to estimate illness and deaths averted by use of PEP/100,000 population. We calculated the threshold points at which the number of PEP-related adverse events was equal to the cases averted. PEP was defined as doxycycline (100 mg 2×/day for 5 days), except for pregnant women, where we assumed a PEP of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (160 mg/800 mg 2×/day) for the duration of the pregnancy. PEP would begin 8–12 days postexposure. On the basis of upper-bound probability estimates of PEP-related adverse events for doxycycline, we concluded that the risk for Q fever illness outweighs the risk for antimicrobial drug–related adverse events when the probability of C. burnetii exposure is >7% (pregnant women using trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole = 16%).
Coxiella burnetti; Q fever; prophylaxis; risk-benefit assessment; pregnant women; research
We estimated the association between amount charged and probability that dog owners in N’Djaména, Chad, would have their dogs vaccinated against rabies. Owners would pay ≈400–700 CFA francs (US $0.78–$1.36)/animal. To vaccinate >70% of dogs, and thus interrupt rabies transmission, health officials should substantially subsidize these vaccinations.
rabies; dogs; control; valuation; subsidies; Chad; Africa; willingness-to-pay; dispatch
Vaccinating children aged 6–23 months, plus all other children at high-risk, will likely be more effective than vaccinating all children against influenza.
We estimated cost-effectiveness of annually vaccinating children not at high risk with inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) to range from US $12,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) saved for children ages 6–23 months to $119,000 per QALY saved for children ages 12–17 years. For children at high risk (preexisting medical conditions) ages 6–35 months, vaccination with IIV was cost saving. For children at high risk ages 3–17 years, vaccination cost $1,000–$10,000 per QALY. Among children not at high risk ages 5–17 years, live, attenuated influenza vaccine had a similar cost-effectiveness as IIV. Risk status was more important than age in determining the economic effects of annual vaccination, and vaccination was less cost-effective as the child's age increased. Thus, routine vaccination of all children is likely less cost-effective than vaccination of all children ages 6–23 months plus all other children at high risk.
influenza; vaccination; child health; cost-effectiveness analysis; economic; dispatch
Since 1975, Lyme disease has become the most common vectorborne inflammatory disease in the United States.
To assess the economic impact of Lyme disease (LD), the most common vectorborne inflammatory disease in the United States, cost data were collected in 5 counties of the Maryland Eastern Shore from 1997 to 2000. Patients were divided into 5 diagnosis groups, clinically defined early-stage LD, clinically defined late-stage LD, suspected LD, tick bite, and other related complaints. From 1997 to 2000, the mean per patient direct medical cost of early-stage LD decreased from $1,609 to $464 (p<0.05), and the mean per patient direct medical cost of late-stage LD decreased from $4,240 to $1,380 (p<0.05). The expected median of all costs (direct medical cost, indirect medical cost, nonmedical cost, and productivity loss), aggregated across all diagnosis groups of patients, was ≈$281 per patient. These findings will help assess the economics of current and future prevention and control efforts.
Vector-borne disease; Lyme disease; cost of illness; hospital charge; research