The initial hospital response to an epidemic

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The last decades have been characterized by the appearance of a substantial number of newly recognized or novel infectious agents and by the re-emergence of infectious diseases with a global impact. The objective of this article is to briefly describe the model of hospital response for early diagnosis and prompt management of patients with highly contagious infectious diseases. We reviewed the main components of hospital preparedness in response to clustering of highly contagious diseases. A model for the initial hospital response to an epidemic in our referral Institute is discussed. Prompt recognition and identification is the initial and indispensable step in facing any communicable diseases, regardless of whether it is a prevalent, a newly emerging one or deliberately released. The importance of developing and implementing nontraditional methods of public health surveillance and a system that allows a wide and immediate dissemination of information and exchange of views on risk assessment and risk management are highlighted. Case identification and laboratory capabilities and isolation procedures are the essential components for an initial hospital response. The recent bioterrorist events and the worldwide outbreaks of highly contagious infectious diseases have evidenced the need for institutional preparedness at each hospital and for identification of referral centers for patient isolation and of laboratories with adequate capabilities. Moreover, hospitals should develop a plan for coordinating all hospital components to respond to critical situations deriving from the admission of patients with highly contagious infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-712
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Medical Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Communication
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Hospital
  • Preparedness
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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