Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fear of pandemic influenza clogs emergency departments even when disease is not present

Date:
May 6, 2010
Source:
American Academy of Pediatrics
Summary:
A study of emergency department activity before and during the H1N1 influenza pandemic highlights the role public fear can play in unnecessarily straining medical facilities and will aid in ongoing preparations for public health emergencies.

A study of emergency department (ED) activity before and during the H1N1 influenza pandemic highlights the role public fear can play in unnecessarily straining medical facilities and will aid in ongoing preparations for public health emergencies, according to the authors.

Related Articles


When EDs experience surges in patient volumes and become overcrowded during a pandemic, the quality and timeliness of medical care suffers, noted William M. McDonnell, MD, JD, who is presenting study findings at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

To determine how public fear over H1N1 influenza and presence of the disease in the community affected use of a pediatric ED, Dr. McDonnell and his colleagues compared usage rates during three one-week periods. Fear week was a period of heightened public concern before the disease was present in the community. Flu week was a period of active pandemic disease. Control week was a period prior to the onset of concern.

Results showed that parents brought their children to the ED in increased numbers during fear week. Compared to the control week, the number of patients was up by 16.3 percent, and children ages 1-4 years comprised 54 percent of the increase.

When H1N1 later arrived in the community (flu week), the ED saw a second surge in patient volumes. The number of patients increased 22.4 percent compared to the control week, and children ages 5-18 years accounted for 91.7 percent of the increase.

"Our study shows that public fear of disease, even when actual disease is not present, can bring about the problems of emergency department overcrowding," said Dr. McDonnell, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and adjunct professor of law at S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah. "As we continue developing our public health emergency planning programs, we must ensure that responsible news media coverage of public health issues provides the benefits of a free and vigorous press, without unnecessarily harming the public health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Pediatrics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Pediatrics. "Fear of pandemic influenza clogs emergency departments even when disease is not present." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504074839.htm>.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2010, May 6). Fear of pandemic influenza clogs emergency departments even when disease is not present. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504074839.htm
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Fear of pandemic influenza clogs emergency departments even when disease is not present." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100504074839.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The CDC is urging people to get vaccinated for measles amid an outbreak that began at Disneyland and has now infected more than 90 people. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) President Obama is expected to speak with drugmakers Friday about his Precision Medicine Initiative first introduced last week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins