How We Use the Data
Sometimes when you participate in a large scale research study, it's hard to see how what you're doing on a daily basis has anything to do with guiding policy or contributing to public health goals. How does whether or not you wear your mask change how well we can respond to a future outbreak of pandemic influenza? The data we collect on use of the selected interventions, illness symptoms, and laboratory confirmed influenza cases will be used to determine whether or not - and to what extent - it's feasible and effective to use non-pharmaceutical interventions such as face masks and hand hygiene in the case of an influenza pandemic. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognize that a pandemic of influenza is likely to occur in the future. Moreover, they recognize that vaccines and antiviral medications would likely be ineffective and inadequately stockpiled. Because of this, the U.S. government, as well as other international and global health organizations, have been considering non-pharmaceutical interventions as feasible measures for mitigating pandemic influenza. The M-FLU study is funded by the CDC and the research results may be used to guide future policies on the use of face masks and hand hygiene for pandemic preparedness.