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Development of Framework for Assessing Influenza Virus Pandemic Risk - Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Development of Framework for Assessing Influenza Virus Pandemic Risk - Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015


Development of Framework for Assessing Influenza Virus Pandemic Risk

Susan C. TrockComments to Author , Stephen A. Burke, and Nancy J. Cox
Author affiliations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA (S.C. Trock, S.A. Burke, N.J. Cox)Battelle, Atlanta (S.A. Burke)


Although predicting which influenza virus subtype will cause the next pandemic is not yet possible, public health authorities must continually assess the pandemic risk associated with animal influenza viruses, particularly those that have caused infections in humans, and determine what resources should be dedicated to mitigating that risk. To accomplish this goal, a risk assessment framework was created in collaboration with an international group of influenza experts. Compared with the previously used approach, this framework, named the Influenza Risk Assessment Tool, provides a systematic and transparent approach for assessing and comparing threats posed primarily by avian and swine influenza viruses. This tool will be useful to the international influenza community and will remain flexible and responsive to changing information.
Pandemic influenza remains a formidable threat to human health. Advances in national pandemic preparedness have been made during recent decades; however, the frequent infection of humans with novel influenza viruses complicates implementation of effective control measures such as vaccines (1). The emergence of the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus (2), the ongoing outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses (3), and, more recently, the identification of severe human infections caused by avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in China (4,5) indicate the need for a more objective, systematic, and transparent approach for evaluating newly emerging influenza viruses with pandemic potential. The Influenza Risk Assessment Tool (IRAT) was developed in response to this need and creates a framework for systematically combining input from influenza experts to support risk management decisions that have important cost implications.
Dr. Trock is a veterinary medical officer in CDC’s Influenza Division. Her efforts focus on animal–human interface activities, particularly as they pertain to influenza.


We thank the many persons from the Influenza Division at CDC for their input into the development of the IRAT.


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Technical Appendix

Suggested citation for this article: Trock SC, Burke SA, Cox NJ. Development of framework for assessing influenza virus pandemic risk. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Aug [date cited].
DOI: 10.3201/eid2108.141086

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