Preventing a pandemic
The H1N1 influenza outbreak during 2009 was the first new flu strain with global reach in 40 years, and its initial virulence alarmed public health officials.
As the pathogen spread from Mexico to the U.S. in early spring, the Department of Homeland Security hired a team from Los Alamos, Argonne, and Sandia national laboratories to simulate the pandemic in the United States.
Influenza outbreaks are a combination of unpredictable human and virus behavior, so they are fraught with uncertainty.
The outcome of H1N1 was less severe than past flu pandemics, but Los Alamos-led research now explains how much worse it could have been.
Understanding how scenarios based on the potential range of uncertainties could unfold will help federal and local agencies stockpile vaccines and antiviral drugs to plan for future worst-case events.