The US-based Centre for Disease Control, part of the Department for Health and Human Services, has released free software to allow healthcare professionals to plan and estimate demand for hospitalisation and health services during an influenza pandemic.

FluAid 2.0, and the accompanying spreadsheet FluSurge 1.0, is based on recent scientific studies of the effects of ‘flu pandemics, and estimates a maximum and a minimum monthly impact in number of deaths, outpatient visits and hospitalisation over a period of time.

According to the most recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, influenza has struck the US three times in the last century and “another influenza pandemic is likely, if not inevitable."

FluSurge, the spreadsheet, is not US-specific, and the only data required for calculation is population split by a rough age demographic and the number, the number of staffed beds, ICU beds and ventilators, the percentage of population that becomes ill and the duration of the pandemic.

FluAid, the program, can run over the web or be installed on a Windows machine. Although it contains hard-coded census data for American states, these can be changed to reflect local demographics outside of the US.

The software manual is careful to point out that an estimate from the software can’t give a definite and reliable answer. “The numbers generated through use of FluAid should not be considered predictions of what will actually occur during a pandemic. Rather, they should be treated as estimates of what could happen."

An information website which will be activated should a ‘flu pandemic occur is currently under development by the National Vaccine Program Office.


FluAid homepage