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BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 2132, 2021 11 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526611


BACKGROUND: The global spread of COVID-19 has shown that reliable forecasting of public health related outcomes is important but lacking. METHODS: We report the results of the first large-scale, long-term experiment in crowd-forecasting of infectious-disease outbreaks, where a total of 562 volunteer participants competed over 15 months to make forecasts on 61 questions with a total of 217 possible answers regarding 19 diseases. RESULTS: Consistent with the "wisdom of crowds" phenomenon, we found that crowd forecasts aggregated using best-practice adaptive algorithms are well-calibrated, accurate, timely, and outperform all individual forecasters. CONCLUSIONS: Crowd forecasting efforts in public health may be a useful addition to traditional disease surveillance, modeling, and other approaches to evidence-based decision making for infectious disease outbreaks.

COVID-19 , Disease Outbreaks , Forecasting , Humans , Intelligence , Models, Statistical , SARS-CoV-2
BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 620, 2021 04 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264157


BACKGROUND: To understand operational challenges involved with responding to US measles outbreaks in 2017-19 and identify applicable lessons in order to inform preparedness and response operations for future outbreaks, particularly with respect to specific operational barriers and recommendations for outbreak responses among insular communities. METHODS: From August 2019 to January 2020, we conducted 11 telephone interviews with 18 participants representing state and local health departments and community health centers that responded to US measles outbreaks in 2017-19, with a focus on outbreaks among insular communities. We conducted qualitative, thematic coding to identify and characterize key operational challenges and lessons identified by the interviewees. RESULTS: We categorized principal insights into 5 topic areas: scale of the response, vaccination operations, exclusion policies, community engagement, and countering anti-vaccine efforts. These topics address resource-intensive aspects of these outbreak responses, including personnel demands; guidance needed to support response operations and reduce transmission, such as excluding exposed or at-risk individuals from public spaces; operational challenges and barriers to vaccination and other response activities; and effectively engaging and educating affected populations, particularly with respect to insular and vulnerable communities. CONCLUSIONS: Measles outbreak responses are resource intensive, which can quickly overwhelm existing public health capacities. Early and effective coordination with trusted leaders and organizations in affected communities, including to provide vaccination capacity and facilitate community engagement, can promote efficient response operations. The firsthand experiences of public health and healthcare personnel who responded to measles outbreaks, including among insular communities, provide evidence-based operational lessons that can inform future preparedness and response operations for outbreaks of highly transmissible diseases.

Epidemics , Measles , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Measles/epidemiology , Measles/prevention & control , Measles Vaccine , Public Health , Vaccination
Vaccine ; 39(40): 6004-6012, 2021 09 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-915720


Given the social and economic upheavals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, political leaders, health officials, and members of the public are eager for solutions. One of the most promising, if they can be successfully developed, is vaccines. While the technological development of such countermeasures is currently underway, a key social gap remains. Past experience in routine and crisis contexts demonstrates that uptake of vaccines is more complicated than simply making the technology available. Vaccine uptake, and especially the widespread acceptance of vaccines, is a social endeavor that requires consideration of human factors. To provide a starting place for this critical component of a future COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the United States, the 23-person Working Group on Readying Populations for COVID-19 Vaccines was formed. One outcome of this group is a synthesis of the major challenges and opportunities associated with a future COVID-19 vaccination campaign and empirically-informed recommendations to advance public understanding of, access to, and acceptance of vaccines that protect against SARS-CoV-2. While not inclusive of all possible steps than could or should be done to facilitate COVID-19 vaccination, the working group believes that the recommendations provided are essential for a successful vaccination program.

COVID-19 , Vaccines , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , United States , Vaccination
Health Secur ; 18(5): 345-346, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-798550