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Proposal for a new integrated Pandemic Threat Index

on Mon, 03/30/2015 - 18:38

Based on experience from 2009 A(H1N1) pandemic, the issue of what a pandemic is and when it has to be declared is still under debate.

In view of a better preparedness, the first point to agree with is therefore a threat index that is shared among experts of different backgrounds and that can avoid misconceptions by the media and, consequently, by the public.

Within the EU funded TELL ME Project, three alternative risk communication scales for pandemics have been analysed: WHO revised pandemic phases (2013), CDC Pandemic Severity Index (2007) and Sandman’s risk Scale (2007). Though each threat index is comprehensive, considering the practical tools they offer, their alert phases are very much oriented to different aspects.

Namely, the WHO’s risk assessment of influenza virus with pandemic potential is based on the geographical spread of the threat, CDC pandemic index is severity-based and Sandman’s communicational phases emphasize public perception of the risk. Subsequently, these three phase systems do not overlap but rather complement each other.

The TELL ME Project recommends the integration of these three pandemic risk communication scales. The TELL ME integrated threat index phases therefore are based on all three considerations, namely the geographical threat, severity and public risk perception.

We hope that the policy brief, here attached, presenting the TELL ME proposal, will be viewed as a positive and helpful contribution to the current debate.

Read the document online:
Proposal for a new integrated Pandemic Threat Index