Influenza is an emerging and reemerging infection with potential for global pandemics resulting in high morbidity and mortality rates. Yet, as we approach the 100th anniversary of the great pandemic of the highly pathogenic 1918 H1N1 virus, and four years after the 2009 pandemic of the low pathogenic swine origin H1N1 virus, we still do not know how influenza is transmitted. Standard medical-infectious disease methods and even a recent large human challenge model have failed to answer the question, what is the primary mode of influenza transmission? New approaches integrating environmental measurements, building science, and aerosol science with social network analysis and state of the art molecular epidemiology are needed.
This workshop will bring together unique resources of the University of Maryland (UMD) with outside experts to map the way forward. It will explore creative new approaches to answering the transmission question critical to pandemic preparedness planning while addressing the implications of airborne infection transmission for sustainable, healthy buildings and transportation infrastructure for the future. This workshop will develop a concept paper describing the new approach and grant applications to employ the unique resources of the UMD campus as a research laboratory for the study of the intersection of sustainable built environments, social networks, and infection transmission.