IDOM (Infectious Disease Outbreak Management) is a prevention and control approach used by ExxonMobil Corporation for infectious disease outbreak control in remote and offshore settings, The company examined the effectiveness of IDOM in containing varicella outbreaks in a large scale project in Papua New Guinea with a globally mobile labour force.


Infectious disease outbreaks can have serious health consequences, disrupt operations and affect company productivity. They are of particular concern in remote sites where large-scale outbreaks can exceed project medical team response capabilities as well as those of the local health system. Outbreaks can spread from the worksites to surrounding communities, impact the health of the populations and affect the company’s image and license to operate. IDOM is a public health tool combining sets of easily applicable procedures for outbreak prevention, preparedness and response.


From December 2011 to May 2012, four separate outbreaks of varicella virus (chicken pox) were reported in various locations of the Liquified Natural Gas Project. The outbreaks occurred at three large-scale construction camps and one off-shore vessel resulting in 41 cases of chicken pox (approximate total worker population of affected sites 10,000). Earlier adoption of IDOM across project sites allowed quick case detection with timely implementation of mitigation measures that effectively interrupted transmission of the highly infective varicella virus. Several sites reported a single case but no further transmission was observed and no varicella case was reported in any of the surrounding communities.


Adoption of IDOM was shown to be very effective for infectious disease outbreak prevention, preparedness and response in large-scale oil and gas construction projects and in preventing transmission to local communities.

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