As the name suggests, Pandemic Severity Index Framework is a clinical scale used for evaluating the impact or severity of influenza pandemics. It was first developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in 2007 as Pandemic Severity Index. PSI was developed as a linear scale, so it was later replaced by Pandemic Severity Assessment Framework in 2014.
What is Pandemic Severity Assessment Framework?
PSAF evaluates the impact of influenza pandemics and epidemics using quadrants rather than linear scales. Public health officials use this method once an influenza virus is identified and starts transmitting person-to-person sustainably.
While using PSAF, two factors are primarily considered for determining the impact of a pandemic: clinical severity and transmissibility.
Clinical Severity- Clinical severity refers to the health complications, heart score, and seriousness associated with the pandemic.
Transmissibility- Transmissibility refers to how speedily the virus transmits from one person to another.
These two factors are studied and analyzed during a PSAF process to accurately estimate or determine the severity of an influenza pandemic.
How is Pandemic Severity Assessment Framework Processed?
PSAF is processed in two stages, including the first stage and the second stage.
At the first stage, public health officials process the initial assessment. This assessment is done at the initial stage of the pandemic when the information of the pandemic is very limited or to only some communities or countries. This assessment is done based on very limited information. With the outcomes of the initial assessment, the impact of the pandemic can be estimated but may be accurately determined.
At the second stage, public health officials do a refined assessment based on the vast information. This assessment is conducted at a point during the pandemic period when it becomes a severe problem throughout most communities, countries, and continents. The refined assessment shows a clearer picture of the pandemic effects on particular communities or throughout the world.
The outcomes of these assessments can be compared with historical pandemics to predict the severity of the current pandemic. This helps in taking the right decisions and making the right strategies to combat the pandemic.