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Emerg Med Australas. 2010 Oct;22(5):435-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2010.01319.x. Epub 2010 Aug 18.

Preparedness for short-term isolation among Queensland residents: implications for pandemic and disaster planning.

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Institute for Health and Social Science Research, at CQUniversity Australia.



Short-term isolation might occur during pandemic disease or natural disasters. We sought to measure preparedness for short-term isolation in an Australian state during pandemic (H1N1) 2009.


Data were collected as part of the Queensland Social Survey (QSS) 2009. Two questions related to preparedness for 3 days of isolation were incorporated into QSS 2009. Associations between demographic variables and preparedness were analysed using χ², with P < 0.05 considered statistically significant.


Most respondents (93.6%; confidence interval [CI] 92.2-94.9%) would have enough food to last 3 days, but only 53.6% (CI 50.9-56.4%) would have sufficient food and potable water if isolated for 3 days with an interruption in utility services. Subpopulations that were less likely to have sufficient food and potable water reserves for 3 days' isolation without utility services included single people, households with children under 18 years of age, people living in South-East Queensland or urban areas, those with higher levels of education and people employed in health or community service occupations.


The majority of Queensland's population consider themselves to have sufficient food supplies to cope with isolation for a period of 3 days. Far fewer would have sufficient reserves if they were isolated for a similar period with an interruption in utility services. The lower level of preparedness among health and community service workers has implications for maintaining the continuity of health services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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