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When it comes to preventing the spread of respiratory infections in a hospital, is it better to adopt the most stringent measures possible or a more moderate approach? One might assume it's best to go with the strictest measures possible, but what if prevention comes with a hefty price tag?
Researchers in Singapore, a country hit hard by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, compared costs of preventing the diseases spread in hospitals of three major respiratory diseases: SARS, pandemic 2009 H1N1 flu, and the Spanish flu which caused the 1918 pandemic. They found that the severity of the virus and high case-fatality rates were among the things that affected cost-effectiveness the most. Researchers determined that a calibrated approach based on the severity of the virus and community risks may help guide responses to future epidemics.
The article, “Cost-Effectiveness of Hospital Infection Control Response to an Epidemic Respiratory Virus Threat” by Paul A. Tambyah, et al. will appear in the 2009 edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC's monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal.