Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New tool better estimates pandemic threats

Date:
March 5, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses (those transmissible from animals to humans), according to a new study. Scientists have shown that the new tool can produce transmissibility estimates for swine flu (the H3N2v-M virus), allowing researchers to better evaluate the possible pandemic threat posed by this virus.

A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses (those transmissible from animals to humans), according to a study published in PLOS Medicine this week. Dr. Simon Cauchemez and colleagues from Imperial College London in the UK and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US show that the new tool can produce transmissibility estimates for swine flu (the H3N2v-M virus), allowing researchers to better evaluate the possible pandemic threat posed by this virus. Until now, estimates of transmissibility were derived from detailed outbreak investigations, which are resource intensive and subject to selection bias. In this study, the authors develop a method to derive unbiased estimates of transmissibility with more limited data.

Related Articles


This study has important health policy implications because of the large numbers of people that could potentially be harmed by emerging viruses. Zoonotic viruses primarily cause occasional infections in human populations exposed to reservoir species (the animal species harboring the virus) because the pathogens are usually poorly adapted for sustained human-to-human transmission. However, zoonotic viruses are under strong selective pressure to acquire the ability for human-to-human transmission. Dr. Cauchemez and colleagues show that the novel approach described in this paper will be useful in assessing human-to-human transmissions during zoonotic outbreaks.

The researchers developed a mathematical model of disease transmission, which only requires data from routine surveillance and standard case investigations. They showed that the pandemic potential of a zoonotic virus could be estimated simply from the proportion of cases infected by the natural reservoir. The authors then applied their new approach to assess the human-to-human transmissibility of H1N1v, H1N2v and H3N2v viruses (in particular that of the H3N2v-M virus) from US surveillance data for the period December 2005 to December 2011 and Nipah virus in Malaysia and Bangladesh, as well as to a non-zoonotic pathogen Vibrio cholerae in the Dominican Republic. This study demonstrates the applicability of this novel approach to estimating the reproduction number R (or the number of individuals infected by a case), during zoonotic and certain non-zoonotic outbreaks.

The technique for estimating R described in this paper is simple and robust and does not require as much investigative effort as existing methods, say the authors. However, a key limitation of this new approach is that it is designed to estimate R during subcritical outbreaks. If it is not a subcritical outbreak, other methods are needed to estimate R.

Dr. Lyn Finelli, Surveillance and Outbreak Response Team (Influenza Division, CDC) and co-author on the paper said: "Outbreaks of the H3N2v-M virus largely took place at livestock exhibitions with thousands of visitors every day. It is very hard to perform detailed outbreak investigations and effectively trace cases in such settings since visitors are widely dispersed. The approach presented in the paper, is simple, requires few data, and was very useful in assessing transmissibility of the virus from the data available."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Simon Cauchemez, Scott Epperson, Matthew Biggerstaff, David Swerdlow, Lyn Finelli, Neil M. Ferguson. Using Routine Surveillance Data to Estimate the Epidemic Potential of Emerging Zoonoses: Application to the Emergence of US Swine Origin Influenza A H3N2v Virus. PLoS Medicine, 2013; 10 (3): e1001399 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001399

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New tool better estimates pandemic threats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305174530.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, March 5). New tool better estimates pandemic threats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305174530.htm
Public Library of Science. "New tool better estimates pandemic threats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305174530.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
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