The Effectiveness of Policies to Control a Human Influenza Pandemic: A Literature Review

57 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

Date Written: February 1, 2008


The studies reviewed in this paper indicate that with adequate preparedness planning and execution it is possible to contain pandemic influenza outbreaks where they occur, for viral strains of moderate infectiousness. For viral strains of higher infectiousness, containment may be difficult, but it may be possible to mitigate the effects of the spread of pandemic influenza within a country and/or internationally with a combination of policies suited to the origins and nature of the initial outbreak. These results indicate the likelihood of containment success in 'frontline risk' countries, given specific resource availability and level of infectiousness' as well as mitigation success in 'secondary' risk countries, given the assumption of inevitable international transmission through air travel networks. However, from the analysis of the modeling results on interventions in the U.S. and U.K. after a global pandemic starts, there is a basis for arguing that the emphasis in the secondary risk countries could shift from mitigation towards containment. This follows since a mitigation-focused strategy in such developed countries presupposes that initial outbreak containment in these countries will necessarily fail. This is paradoxical if containment success at similar infectiousness of the virus is likely in developing countries with lower public health resources, based on results using similar modeling methodologies. Such a shift in emphasis could have major implications for global risk management for diseases of international concern such as pandemic influenza or a SARS-like disease.

Keywords: Avian Flu, Disease Control & Prevention, Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Population Policies, HIV AIDS

Suggested Citation

Dutta, Arin, The Effectiveness of Policies to Control a Human Influenza Pandemic: A Literature Review (February 1, 2008). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4524, Available at SSRN:

Arin Dutta (Contact Author)

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