Guide to public health measures to reduce the impact of influenza pandemics in Europe – ‘The ECDC Menu’

Introducción del documento publicado por el Centro Europeo para la Prevención y el Control de Enfermedades (ECDC):

The purpose of this document is to present to European Member States, the EU institutions and others a detailed guide or ‘Menu’ of the many public health measures that have been proposed for reducing the transmission of human pandemic influenza when the pandemic is spreading in Europe – that is, in WHO Phase 5 or 6. The guide provides qualitative public health and scientific information on what is known or can be said about their likely effectiveness, the direct costs, the risks and secondary consequences associated with their use, their likely acceptability, the probable public expectations and practical considerations. The findings are summarised in the Summary tables, but the reader is encouraged to consult the relevant parts of the text. The Guide does not provide information on important measures that will reduce illness and death but do not affect transmission (e.g. antibiotics and secondary care). That is more concerning clinical care, therefore is both outside the scope of the document and is less within ECDC’s mandate.

Unlike some national guides or WHO’s Annex One of its 2005 Pandemic Plan (which is included in this document – Annex I) and WHO’s anticipated 2009 guidance on countermeasures, no explicit judgements or recommendations are made in this document, as this would be beyond ECDC’s mandate, which is to advise but not prescribe. However, for a number of measures described here, the facts speak for themselves.

The content is intended to help European Member States, individually or preferably collectively, decide on which measures they may plan to apply and in what circumstances. The document specifically addresses the situation of a pandemic of human influenza. However, many of the same considerations will apply to severe epidemics of seasonal influenza, which occur some winters, and so the information is also pertinent to that situation.

The guidance has been subject to review by ECDC’s Advisory Forum and a public consultation, but is still labelled interim as there will be further research findings concerning effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the various measures that might change current advice. Therefore, the Guide will continue to be updated at intervals.

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