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Lab Reports
April 3, 2013

Estimating Pandemic Threats

JAMA. 2013;309(13):1337. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3158

A new mathematical model of disease transmission that only requires data from routine surveillance and standard case investigations may effectively assess the risks posed by some emerging viruses that may be passed from animals to humans (Cauchemez S et al. PLoS Med. 2013;10[3]:e1001399).

Researchers from Imperial College London and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta used the tool to produce transmissibility estimates for swine-origin influenza A H3N2v-M virus based on the proportion of human cases infected by swine. They then assessed the human-to-human transmissibility of the H3N2v-M virus from US surveillance data from December 2005 to December 2011. They also applied the tool to assess the transmissibility of Nipah virus in Malaysia and Bangladesh, as well as a nonzoonotic example of cholera in the Dominican Republic.