Preparing for an influenza pandemic: mental health considerations

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2009 May-Jun;24(3):223-30. doi: 10.1017/s1049023x00006853.


There is a common belief that an influenza pandemic not only is inevitable, but that it is imminent. It is further believed by some, and dramatized by a 2006 made-for-television-movie, that such a pandemic will herald an end to life as we know it. Are such claims hyperboles, or does a pandemic represent the most significant threat to public health in the new millennium? Any potential effects of a disease on a population are mediated not only through the pathophysiological mechanisms of the disease itself, but through the psychological and behavioral reactions that such a disease might engender. It is the purpose of this paper to explore the potential psychological and behavioral reactions that may accompany an influenza pandemic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Global Health
  • Health Planning*
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza in Birds / epidemiology
  • Influenza in Birds / prevention & control*
  • Influenza in Birds / transmission
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Influenza, Human / transmission
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Mental Health*
  • Stress, Psychological