Principles and Standards for Benefit–Cost Analysis
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Principles and Standards for Benefit–Cost Analysis

Edited by Scott O. Farrow and Richard Zerbe, Jr.

Benefit–cost analysis informs which policies or programs most benefit society when implemented by governments and institutions around the world. This volume brings together leading researchers and practitioners to recommend strategies and standards to improve the consistency and credibility of such analyses, assisting analysts of all types in achieving a greater uniformity of practice.
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Chapter 3: Principles and standards for benefit–cost analysis of public health preparedness and pandemic mitigation programs

Joseph H. Cook


In the spring of 2009, the world saw the outbreak of a new strain of influenza virus (H1N1). Although earlier interest had been focused on the possibility of strains of avian (H5N1) influenza coming from Asia, the H1N1 strain had jumped carriers from pigs to humans, and was first detected in Mexico. Known as H1N1 or “swine flu,” it quickly spread around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a Phase 6 pandemic (the highest alert level) on 11 June 2009. As of late February 2010, H1N1 caused 16 200 deaths in 213 countries. The US Centers for Disease Control estimates that there were 41–84 million cases in the USA, 183 000–378 000 hospitalizations, and 8330–17 160 deaths attributable to H1N1. Nevertheless, the disease was milder than initially feared, and during much of 2009 attention among citizens and public officials was focused intensely on preparations for the pandemic.

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