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.

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 July 24, 2014 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 July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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