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Public health incident management: Logistical and operational aspects of the 2009 initial outbreak of H1N1 influenza in Mexico

Miguel A. Cruz, PhD, Nicole M. Hawk, MPA, Christopher Poulet, MS, Jose Rovira, MS, Edward N. Rouse, MPA


Hosting an international outbreak response team can pose a challenge to jurisdictions not familiar with incident management frameworks. Basic principles of team forming, organizing, and executing mission critical activities require simple and flexible communication that can be easily understood by the host country’s public health leadership and international support agencies. Familiarity with incident command system principles before a public health emergency could save time and effort during the initial phases of the response and aid in operationalizing and sustaining complex field activities throughout the response. The 2009 initial outbreak of H1N1 in Mexico highlighted the importance of adequately organizing and managing limited resources and expertise using incident management principles. This case study describes logistical and operational aspects of the response and highlights challenges faced during this response that may be relevant to the organization of public health responses and incidents requiring international assistance and cooperation.


emergency management, outbreaks, incident command system, international agencies, public health

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Originally published in Journal of Emergency Management, 2015; 13(1): 71-77. DOI:10.5055/jem.2015.0219.



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