Interventions to contain pandemic influenza transmission

Added April 14, 2020

Citation: Saunders-Hastings P, Reisman J, Krewski D. Assessing the state of knowledge regarding the effectiveness of interventions to contain pandemic influenza transmission: a systematic review and narrative synthesis. PLOS One 2016; 11(12): e0168262

What is this? A variety of interventions are likely to be used to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence on interventions that were used to reduce pandemic influenza transmission and infection may help in developing strategies for the management of COVID-19.

In this systematic overview and narrative syntheses, the authors searched for existing systematic reviews and meta-analyses examining the effects of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions in containing pandemic influenza transmission. They did not restrict by date or language of publication and did their searches in July 2016. They included 17 reviews and the findings that might be most relevant to COVID-19 are noted below.

What works: Wearing a facemask in conjunction with hand hygiene reduces infection compared to hand hygiene alone during an influenza pandemic.

School closure reduced contacts with infected people during an influenza pandemic.

Antiviral prophylaxis and antiviral treatment received within 48 hours of onset of symptoms had some benefits compared to no treatment, during an influenza pandemic.

What doesn’t work: Corticosteroid therapy showed no benefit when used to treat acute lung injury and significantly increased nosocomial infection and mortality during an influenza pandemic.

What’s uncertain: The effects of many non-pharmacological interventions (including border control measures) are uncertain during an influenza pandemic, due to a lack of high quality evidence.

There is insufficient evidence to determine the effects of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for influenza-associated respiratory failure during an influenza pandemic.



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