Mitigation strategy

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A mitigation strategy means attempting to control the rate and type of spread of disease (usually infectious) by:

  • Reducing the overall number of people affected;
  • Reducing transmission;
  • Organising to deliver healthcare for those who may be affected:
    • Maximising care for those with disease within resources
    • Protecting the most vulnerable
    • Treatment
    • Immunisation
    • Quarantine (where appropriate, such as if particular types of disease presentation are much more highly infectious than others)

With a new disease it will depend upon many factors as to whether the most appropriate initial strategy is containment, delaying or mitigation. Indeed the decisions are often political because of the disruption caused and therefore can be subjective or because something has to be done. It has been known for such decisions to be made and used for other political purposes. Moving from the usually earlier containment or [[delaying strategy|delaying strategies is based on:

  • When it is no longer feasible to maintain a comprehensive approach to containment/delaying
  • When resources are distracting from other important activities, such as detecting community transmission
  • Where the delaying/containment has failed resulting in sustained community transmission

Much of successful public health medicine where a (new) infectious disease emerges involves influencing this political process to minimise inappropriate disruption or to achieve appropriate disruption of normal activities and behaviour change.