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Volume 18, Number 7—July 2012

Dispatch

Timeliness of Nongovernmental versus Governmental Global Outbreak Communications

Luke Mondor, John S. Brownstein, Emily Chan, Lawrence C. Madoff, Marjorie P. Pollack, David L. Buckeridge, and Timothy F. BrewerComments to Author 
Author affiliations: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (L. Mondor, D.L. Buckeridge, T.F. Brewer); Harvard–Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts, USA (J.S. Brownstein, E. Chan); Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston (J.S. Brownstein, E. Chan); International Society for Infectious Diseases, Brookline, Massachusetts, USA (L.C. Madoff, M.P. Pollack, T.F. Brewer); University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA (L. Madoff); and Harvard Medical School, Boston (J.S. Brownstein)

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Table 2

Comparison of the timeliness of outbreak communications by nongovernmental and governmental sources*

Variable IRR (95% CI) p value
Source
Governmental Ref
Nongovernmental 0.950 (0.765–1.180) 0.645
Chronological order
Pre-SARS Ref
Post-SARS 0.713 (0.576–0.884) 0.002
Geographic location
Africa Ref
Americas 0.773 (0.531–1.126) 0.180
Eastern Mediterranean 0.912 (0.654–1.272) 0.587
Europe 1.100 (0.731–1.669) 0.637
Southeast Asia 0.602 (0.394–0.918) 0.019
Western Pacific 0.780 (0.577–1.054) 0.106

*Methods: The multivariate negative binomial regression model compared the timeliness of outbreaks first communicated by nongovernmental sources to those by governmental sources, while adjusting for geographic region and whether the outbreak occurred before or after public recognition of SARS. IRR, incidence rate ratio; SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome; ref, reference value = 1. Reference categories: (1) source: governmental, (2) SARS: pre-SARS, (3) geographic region: Africa.

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