BACKGROUND: The US government proposes pandemic influenza mitigation guidance that includes isolation and antiviral treatment of ill persons, voluntary household member quarantine and antiviral prophylaxis, social distancing of individuals, school closure, reduction of contacts at work, and prioritized vaccination. Is this the best strategy combination? Is choice of this strategy robust to pandemic uncertainties? What are critical enablers of community resilience?
METHODS AND FINDINGS: We systematically simulate a broad range of pandemic scenarios and mitigation strategies using a networked, agent-based model of a community of explicit, multiply-overlapping social contact networks. We evaluate illness and societal burden for alterations in social networks, illness parameters, or intervention implementation. For a 1918-like pandemic, the best strategy minimizes illness to
CONCLUSIONS: Systematic evaluation of feasible, recommended pandemic influenza interventions generally confirms the US community mitigation guidance yields best strategy choices for pandemic planning that are robust to a wide range of uncertainty. The best strategy combines network- and case-based interventions; network-based interventions are paramount. Because strategies must be applied rapidly, regionally, and stringently for greatest benefit, preparation and public education is required for long-lasting, high community compliance during a pandemic.
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