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Rapid Response was Crucial to Containing the 1918 Flu Pandemic

his coauthor used mathematical models to reproduce the pattern of the 1918 pandemic in different cities. This allowed them to predict what would have happened if cities had changed the timing of interventions. In San Francisco, which they found to have the most effective measures, they estimate that deaths would have been 25 percent higher had city officials not implemented their interventions when they did. But had San Francisco left its controls in place continuously from September 1918 through May 1919, the analysis suggests, the city might have reduced deaths by more than 90 percent.

The fact that the early, nonpharmaceutical interventions were effective at the height of the pandemic can inform pandemic planners today, the authors of both studies say. In particular, the two studies lend weight to guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released on the use of nonpharmaceutical interventions during a pandemic (http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/community/mitigation.html), which recommends precisely such a rapid early response.

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on basic immunology, transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergies. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

NIGMS supports basic biomedical research that is the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. For more information about the Models of Infectious Disease Agen
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