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Since global availability of vaccine and antiviral agents against influenza caused by novel human subtypes is insufficient, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends non-pharmaceutical public health interventions to contain infection, delay spread, and reduce the impact of pandemic disease. Virus transmission characteristics will not be completely known in advance, but difficulties in influenza control typically include peak infectivity early in illness, a short interval between cases, and to a lesser extent, transmission from persons with incubating or asymptomatic infection. Screening and quarantining entering travelers at international borders did not substantially delay virus introduction in past pandemics, except in some island countries, and will likely be even less effective in the modern era. Instead, WHO recommends providing information to international travelers and possibly screening travelers departing countries with transmissible human infection. The principal focus of interventions against pandemic influenza spread should be at national and community levels rather than international borders.

Original publication

DOI

10.3201/eid1201.051370

Type

Journal article

Journal

Emerg Infect Dis

Publication Date

01/2006

Volume

12

Pages

81 - 87

Keywords

Aircraft, Disease Outbreaks, Disease Transmission, Infectious, Fomites, Humans, Influenza, Human, Internationality, Mass Screening, Quarantine, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Ships, Time Factors, Travel, Virus Shedding