In one week, local hospitals admit 25 patients with the same flu-like symptoms, and 14 of those patients die. An investigation reveals that most of the afflicted live in the same neighborhood, which has a large immigrant population. Public-health officials visit the patients' families, friends, and neighbors, and find that a significant percentage of them present the same flu-like symptoms.
Once the local news organizations begin to report the unusual outbreak, panic spreads among the public. Fearing for their lives, many people from the afflicted area rush to leave the city. If they have been exposed to the pathogen, they could easily spread the disease to others and exacerbate the crisis. On the other hand, forcing citizens to remain in their homes is a serious decision that poses a potential political nightmare.
As the public-health commissioner for the town of Springfield, you must decide how to respond.