Population-based Triage Management in Response to Surge-capacity Requirements during a Large-scale Bioevent Disaster

Frederick M. Burkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Both the naturally occurring and deliberate release of a biological agent in a population can bring catastrophic consequences. Although these bioevents have similarities with other disasters, there also are major differences, especially in the approach to triage management of surge capacity resources. Conventional mass-casualty events use uniform methods for triage on the basis of severity of presentation and do not consider exposure, duration, or infectiousness, thereby impeding control of transmission and delaying recognition of victims requiring immediate care. Bioevent triage management must be population based, with the goal of preventing secondary transmission, beginning at the point of contact, to control the epidemic outbreak. Whatever triage system is used, it must first recognize the requirements of those Susceptible but not exposed, those Exposed but not yet infectious, those Infectious, those Removed by death or recovery, and those protected by Vaccination or prophylactic medication (SEIRV methodology). Everyone in the population falls into one of these five categories. This article addresses a population approach to SEIRV-based triage in which decision making falls under a two-phase system with specific measures of effectiveness to increase likelihood of medical success, epidemic control, and conservation of scarce resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1129
Number of pages12
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • bioevents
  • disaster
  • epidemics
  • pandemics
  • population-based medicine
  • surge capacity
  • triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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