In February 23 -25, 2007 Dr. Martin Eichner participated in the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance (IMED) in Vienna. This meeting, organized by the International Society for Infectious Diseases, probably was one of the year’s mayor conferences for those involved in the detection, monitoring, and study of emerging pathogens and to those in the front lines of response. It brought together the public health community, scientists, health care workers and other leaders in the field of emerging infectious diseases.
As an expert on modelling infectious diseases, Dr. Martin Eichner recieved particular attention by the participents of IMED 2007. In his poster presentation he demonstrated the effects of closing schools on the spread of pandemic influenza. Closing of day care centers and schools, and cancelling of mass gathering events have already been used to mitigate epidemics of seasonal influenza and other infectious diseases. Now this strategy is currently being discussed in the context of an influenza pandemic. But, as Dr.
Martin Eichner found out with the program InfluSim (www.influsim.info), closing schools can even be dangerous. How Dr. Eichner came to this astonishing conclusion is shown on his poster.