Infectious disease preparedness, response tool draws on lessons learned from U.S. Ebola cases

June 27, 2017, Johns Hopkins University
The Ebola virus, isolated in November 2014 from patient blood samples obtained in Mali. The virus was isolated on Vero cells in a BSL-4 suite at Rocky Mountain Laboratories. Credit: NIAID

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed a checklist that outlines action steps for medical and public health officials to assess and strengthen the resilience of their community's health sector to high-consequence infectious disease, or HCID, events.

The checklist offers comprehensive guidance on recommended improvements to the interconnected preparedness and response capabilities of the public, private, and community organizations that comprise local health sectors.

"One of the key findings of our research is the diversity of people who end up being involved in a response and how interrelated they are, including many who never expected to be involved," said Eric Toner, senior associate at the center and the project's principal investigator. "Therefore, many more stakeholders must participate in planning, and they are eager for firsthand information from others who have experienced an HCID event."

The team's full report, "Health Sector Resilience Checklist for High-Consequence Infectious Diseases—Informed by the Domestic US Ebola Response," analyzes the firsthand experience of handling confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease in four U.S. cities—Atlanta; Dallas; New York; and Omaha, Nebraska. It identifies challenges and solutions to both common and unique problems faced by these cities, in particular highlighting unanticipated issues.

The checklist is derived from these salient lessons learned and broadened to cover similar high-consequence infectious disease events, which the authors define as:

  • Novel in the affected community
  • Moderately to highly contagious
  • Not easily controllable by medical countermeasures or non-pharmaceutical interventions
  • Moderately to highly lethal
  • A cause of significant public concern.

Smallpox, SARS, MERS, and H5N1 influenza A are examples of other HCIDs.

Health sector resilience requires the collective commitment of individuals and organizations responsible for HCID preparedness and response at the state and local level. The checklist makes recommendations of value to all of these stakeholders, including health care systems and facilities, public health departments, emergency medical services, public and private diagnostic laboratories, elected officials, law enforcement, academia, and community-based organizations that represent affected populations.

"Our goal is to provide clear direction for leaders so they can take a proactive approach to building and maintaining health sector resilience in advance of an HCID event in their community," Toner said.

Overarching resilience actions are grouped in the following checklist categories:

  • Planning and preparedness
  • Leadership
  • Creative flexibility/adaptability
  • Command structure
  • Public trust
  • Managing uncertainty
  • Crisis and emergency risk communication

The report also includes specific checklists for public health agencies, , , and elected officials. It is a companion project to a previously published sector for natural disasters based on New York's experience with Hurricane Sandy.

Explore further: Checklist for family-centered rounds deemed beneficial

More information: Health Sector Resilience Checklist for HighConsequence Infectious Diseases—Informed by the Domestic US Ebola Response: www.centerforhealthsecurity.or … eport_05.23.2017.pdf

Related Stories

Checklist for family-centered rounds deemed beneficial

April 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—Implementation of a family-centered rounds (FCR) checklist and associated provider training is associated with an increase in the number of FCR elements performed, according to a study published online April ...

Guidelines 2.0: New guideline development checklist for health researchers

December 16, 2013
Researchers hope that a comprehensive new checklist will help guideline developers/organizations around the world create and implement better recommendations for health care. The guideline development checklist, created by ...

Ebola has lessons for local health departments' role in health crises

February 12, 2015
Experience with the Ebola outbreak highlights local health departments' essential role in responding to global health threats posed by infectious diseases, according to a special article in the March/April issue of the Journal ...

US needs greater preparation for next severe public health threats, panel finds

June 30, 2016
In a report released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an Independent Panel formed to review HHS's response to Ebola made several recommendations on how the nation's federal public health system ...

Hurricane Sandy: Collection of post-disaster studies published by DMPHP journal

June 15, 2016
Hurricane Sandy, later to be renamed Superstorm Sandy, made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, on October 29, 2012. Over 1000 miles wide, the storm impacted 24 states, with the greatest impact felt by New Jersey and ...

A risk management framework improves health systems' resilience to high-impact weather

April 29, 2014
According to a new study by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program, a risk management framework can improve the resilience of healthcare facilities and services to high-impact weather such as tornadoes and ...

Recommended for you

Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour

May 24, 2018
A lot can happen at 160 degrees Fahrenheit: Eggs fry, salmonella bacteria dies, and human skin will suffer third-degree burns. If a car is parked in the sun on a hot summer day, its dashboard can hit 160 degrees in about ...

In helping smokers quit, cash is king, e-cigarettes strike out

May 23, 2018
Free smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine patches and chewing gum, are a staple of many corporate wellness programs aimed at encouraging employees to kick the habit. But, new research shows that merely offering such aids ...

What makes us well? Diversity, health care, and public transit matter

May 23, 2018
Diverse neighbors. Health centers. Commuter trains. These community attributes, and other key factors, are linked to well-being and quality of life, according to Yale researchers.

Widely used e-cigarette flavoring impairs lung function

May 23, 2018
A new study has found that a common e-cigarette flavoring that has chemical characteristics similar to toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke disrupts an important mechanism of the lungs' antibacterial defense system. The ...

Time spent sitting at a screen matters less if you are fit and strong

May 23, 2018
The impact of screen time on cardiovascular disease, cancer incidence and mortality may be greatest in people who have lower levels of grip-strength, fitness and physical activity, according to a study published in the open ...

Study: Strenuous exercise in adolescence may ward off height loss later in life

May 23, 2018
A new study has identified several key factors in postmenopausal women that are associated with height loss, a common occurrence in this age group that is known to increase the risk for death and disease.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.