Infectious disease pandemic planning and response: Incorporating decision analysis


Freya M. Shearer, Robert Moss, Jodie McVernon, Joshua V. Ross, James M. McCaw

PLoS Medicine, 17(1): e1003018. DOI:

  • Planning is critical to mitigating the sudden and potentially catastrophic impact of an
    infectious disease pandemic on society. National pandemic policy documents cover a
    wide variety of control options, often with nonspecific recommendations for action.
  • Despite advances in analytical methods for gaining early situational awareness (i.e., of a
    disease’s transmissibility and severity) and for predicting the likely effectiveness of interventions, a major gap exists globally in terms of integrating these outputs with the advice
    contained in policy documents.
  • Decision models (and decision science as a field, more broadly) provide an approach to
    defining and evaluating alternative policy options under complex and changing
  • A decision model for infectious disease pandemics is an appropriate method for integrating evidence from situational and intervention analysis tools, along with the information in policy documents, to provide robust advice on possible response options
    (including uncertainty).
  • A decision model for pandemic response cannot capture all of the social, political, and
    ethical considerations that impact decision-making. Such a model should therefore be
    embedded in a decision support system that emphasizes this broader context.

Related Research Areas

  • Public health research