Graduation Date

Spring 5-5-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Emergency Preparedness

First Advisor

Sharon Medcalf

Second Advisor

Ted Cieslak

Third Advisor

John Lowe


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1918 “Spanish Flu” outbreak that killed 50-100 million people worldwide. If a pandemic of this proportion happened today, the federal pandemic influenza plan predicts that 30 percent of the population could become infected with up to 50 percent seeking outpatient care. With Nebraska Medicine currently operating at nearly full capacity (95-97%), surge capacity for hospital space, staff, and supplies would be in severe demand and would quickly overwhelm the organization. To assess the impact of pandemic influenza in Douglas County Nebraska and Nebraska Medicine, pandemic modeling tool FluAid and FluSurge 2.0 were used to project and illustrate the demand for hospital resources during surge events. FluSurge estimates the number of hospital admissions, ICU and ventilator capacity and deaths due to pandemic influenza. Projections are made under variable duration (6, 8, and 12 weeks) and virulence (15%, 25%, and 35 %) scenarios and compares hospital resources needed during pandemic influenza with existing hospital resources. Results indicate during a moderate to severe influenza pandemic, the percentage of Nebraska Medicine’s capacity needed to care for flu patients would double by week 2. Considering the results and disease burden of pandemic influenza on Nebraska Medicine, recommendations for the hospital include topics for discussion and specific preparedness and response actions in order to increase hospital capacity and capabilities for future surge events.