The impact of opening dedicated clinics on disease transmission during an influenza pandemic

PLoS One. 2020 Aug 6;15(8):e0236455. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0236455. eCollection 2020.


Dedicated clinics can be established in an influenza pandemic to isolate people and potentially reduce opportunities for influenza transmission. However, their operation requires resources and their existence may attract the worried-well. In this study, we quantify the impact of opening dedicated influenza clinics during a pandemic based on an agent-based simulation model across a time-varying social network of households, workplaces, schools, community locations, and health facilities in the state of Georgia. We calculate performance measures, including peak prevalence and total attack rate, while accounting for clinic operations, including timing and location. We find that opening clinics can reduce disease spread and hospitalizations even when visited by the worried-well, open for limited weeks, or open in limited locations, and especially when the clinics are in operation during times of highest prevalence. Specifically, peak prevalence, total attack rate, and hospitalization reduced 0.07-0.32%, 0.40-1.51%, 0.02-0.09%, respectively, by operating clinics for the pandemic duration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Georgia
  • Hospitalization
  • Hospitals, Special / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Prevalence

Grant support

This research has been supported in part by a seed grant from Georgia Tech and by the following Georgia Tech benefactors: William W. George, Andrea Laliberte, Claudia L. and J. Paul Raines, and Richard E. “Rick” and Charlene Zalesky. This research has also been supported by Edward P. Fitts and the A. Doug Allison Distinguished Professorship. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding organizations. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. There was no additional external funding received for this study.