The role of health care workers and antiviral drugs in the control of pandemic influenza

Belinda Barnes*, Kathryn Glass, Niels G. Becker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Until a vaccine against the new strain becomes available, the response to newly emerged pandemic influenza will consist of the use of antiviral drugs and measures that limit exposure to infectious individuals. These first-line defence measures include isolating cases upon diagnosis, reducing close contacts, the use of personal protective equipment and hygiene, and using antiviral drugs for treatment and prophylaxis. There are significant 'costs' associated with control measures, so to justify such interventions it is important to assess their potential to reduce transmission. In this paper, we determine the effect that a number of different antiviral interventions have on the reproduction number of infectives and the probability that an imported infection fades out, and determine parameter scenarios for which these interventions are able to eliminate an emerging pandemic of influenza. We also assess the role that health care workers play in transmission and the extent to which providing them with antiviral prophylaxis and personal protective equipment modifies this role. Our results indicate that this class requires protection to avoid a greatly disproportionate contribution to early infective numbers, and for the maintenance of a stable health care system. Further, we show that the role children play in increasing transmission is moderate, in spite of closer mixing with other children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)403-416
    Number of pages14
    JournalMathematical Biosciences
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


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