You make the call: handling a possible flu epidemic - results

Imagine you're the director of the Center for Disease Control, the US government's top job for handling public health concerns.

Suddenly you're faced with a new strain of flu, and must make a series of decisions over the course of a year on how to handle the outbreak. What will you do? Test your decision-making ability to handling a possible flu crisis. See how your decisions compare with others who've tried this activity.

How would you handle this scenario? Take the poll.


Here is how other Science Buzz visitors are answering these questions.

January - About 300 new recruits at an Army base come down with the flu. About ten of those recruits have symptoms similar to the strain of flu that killed 21 million people in 1918-19. One of those 10 Army recruits dies.

Visitors decided to:

Do nothing – just keep monitoring the situation. = 31

Quarantine all the enlistees and staff on the Army base grounds. = 169

Get samples of the new virus for clinical testing. = 241

Total votes = 441

March - After further discussion among medical experts worldwide, CDC staff concludes that this new flu strain could be as strong and deadly as the 1918-19 flu pandemic.

Visitors urge the president and Congress to:

Provide $40 million in funding for further tests into the make-up of the virus. = 133

Provide $134 million to produce enough vaccine to inoculate every US citizen. = 194

Pass restrictions to prevent unnecessary travel across the country. = 114

Total votes = 441

August - While developing vaccinations for the new flu, US drug companies ask to be exempt from any financial liability if there are negative, unanticipated side-effects for people getting the shots.

Visitors, acting as the CDC head, decided to

Call a halt to the inoculation plan. = 47

Negotiate a shared liability plan between the drug companies and government. = 300

Ask lawmakers to pass a waiver holding drug companies blameless to negative outcomes from the vaccinations. = 94

Total votes = 441

December - As the national inoculation process begins in late fall/early winter, 30 people receiving the vaccinations develop Guillain-Barre syndrome—an immune disorder which inflames the nervous system—within a month of receiving the new flu shot.

Visitors recommended to:

Change nothing, continue with the national inoculation plan. = 142

Stop inoculations with the current vaccine and develop a new formula. = 262

Stop the national inoculation program entirely. = 45

Total votes = 449