Category Archives: Pandemics & Infectious Diseases

Interim Pre-pandemic Planning Guidance: Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation in the United States—Early, Targeted, Layered Use of Nonpharmaceutical Interventions

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CS108488, February 2007

From press release:
Community Measures Prevent Deaths During Pandemic, New Study Finds –
School closures and other community strategies designed to reduce the possibility of spreading disease between people during an epidemic can save lives, particularly when the measures are used in combination and implemented soon after an outbreak begins in a community, according to a new study based on public records from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic.

The findings (subscription required), which are published in the Aug. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, provide vital clues to help public officials planning for the next influenza pandemic and highlight the importance of community strategies. These strategies are particularly important because the intervention most likely to provide the best protection against pandemic influenza — a vaccine — is unlikely to be available at the outset of a pandemic. Community strategies that delay or reduce the impact of a pandemic (also called non-pharmaceutical interventions) may help reduce the spread of disease until a vaccine that is well-matched to the virus is available.

Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of Michigan Medical School′s Center for the History of Medicine completed an exhaustive review of public records such as health department reports, U.S. Census mortality data and newspaper archives.
See also:
Early Warning Infectious Disease Program (EWIDS)
Pandemic Planning Update IV
Department of Health and Human Services’ Pandemic Flu Website

National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan One Year Summary

Source: Homeland Security Council, July 2007

From the summary:
Since the release of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan one year ago, much has been accomplished to realize the U.S. Government’s pandemic preparedness and response goals of: (1) stopping, slowing, or otherwise limiting the spread of a pandemic to the United States; (2) limiting the domestic spread of a pandemic and mitigating disease, suffering, and death; and (3) sustaining infrastructure and mitigating impact to the economy and the functioning of society.

Although the visibility of avian influenza and pandemic preparedness has waned in the media, the threat of avian influenza and the potential for an influenza pandemic has not. A pandemic occurs when a novel strain of influenza virus emerges that has the ability to infect humans and to cause severe disease, and where efficient and sustained transmission between humans occurs. Though we cannot be certain that highly pathogenic avian influenza A H5N1 (H5N1) will spark a pandemic, we can be sure that a pandemic will occur at some point in the future. It is everyone’s responsibility to remain vigilant. We cannot become complacent and must continue to take the threat of a pandemic very seriously.

See also:
Fact Sheet: Implementation of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influence – White House, July 17, 2007
Pandemic Flu: Preparing and Protecting Against Avian Influenza – White House

Improving health system preparedness for terrorism and mass casualty events: Recommendations for action

Source: American Medical Association/American Public Health Association, A consensus report from the AMA/APHA Linkages Leadership Summit, July 2007

From the press release:
Today a coalition of 18 health organizations led by the American Medical Association (AMA) and American Public Health Association (APHA) released a consensus report with 53 strategic recommendations for legislators, government officials and organizational leaders to more effectively prepare for and respond to catastrophic emergencies. The recommendations, especially nine identified as “critical,” serve as a national call to action from medicine, dentistry, nursing, hospitals, emergency medical services (EMS), and public health. The recommendations seek to strengthen health system preparedness and response through increased funding, greater integration, continued education and training and ensured legal protections for responders.

Nine critical recommendations from the consensus report make up a call to action in four categories:

Public health systems must be appropriately funded to adequately respond to day-to-day emergencies and catastrophic mass casualty events;
Public health and disaster response systems must be fully integrated and interoperable at all government levels;
Health care and public health professionals should maintain an appropriate level of education and training; and
Health care and public health responders must be provided and assured adequate legal protections in a disaster.
+ Action Brief
+ Signed Pledge of Commitment

Pandemic Planning Blog

Source: Secretary Leavitt (host), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

On June 13, Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, convened a leadership forum on pandemic preparedness, which brought together highly influential leaders from the business, faith, civic and health care sectors to discuss how best to help Americans become more prepared for a possible influenza pandemic. The Department is hosting this five-week blog to expand the conversation as part of an ongoing effort by the Department to help Americans become more prepared. HHS does not edit blog postings and cannot ensure that all included links are functioning. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Fouling An Attack

Source: Robert Barkin, American City & County, Vol. 122 no. 3, March 1, 2007

Preparing for emergencies is nothing new for Patricia Bean, Hillsborough County, Fla., administrator. After all, hurricanes are a way of life in the Southeast, and readiness for the next storm is at the top of every official’s list of essential tasks. But, anticipating an influenza pandemic is different. “We’re used to dealing with a situation that we see coming and then passes,” she says about hurricanes. “But this situation is very different. We may have 30 to 40 percent of our staff out of work. How can we cover that?”

Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Guidance for Healthcare Workers and Healthcare Employers

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA 3328-05, 2007

A comprehensive resource for healthcare planners and practitioners, the new guidance offers information and tools to assist the industry in preparing for and responding to an influenza pandemic. It includes technical information on infection control and industrial hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infection in healthcare settings; workplace preparations and planning issues; and OSHA standards that have special importance to pandemic preparedness planners and responders in the industry.

Agency Guidance – Human Capital Management Policy for a Pandemic Influenza

Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management

The chart on the following page was developed to assist managers and supervisors in determining the appropriate course of action when confronted in the workplace with an employee who appears ill during a declared pandemic influenza outbreak or an employee who has been exposed to pandemic influenza. Employees who appear to be ill include those workers with pandemic flu-like symptoms (based on symptoms identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which will be posted at www.pandemicflu.gov once the symptoms are known). Employees who have been exposed to pandemic influenza include those employees who have a known, recent, and direct exposure to pandemic influenza (also based on guidance from CDC and from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The chart is intended to assist Federal supervisors and managers in assessing the capacity of their workforce to carry out the work for which the supervisor or manager will remain accountable during a pandemic influenza.

Pandemic Influenza: Best Practices and Model Protocols

Source: U.S. Fire Administration, April 2007

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for developing best practices and model protocols for use by State, local, tribal, and territorial personnel in the development of pandemic influenza plans, preparedness activities, training, and exercises. The content is a synopsis of input received from Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal emergency medical services (EMS), fire, emergency management, public works, and sector-specific participants during a three-day forum sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Chief Medical Officer and hosted by the U.S. Fire Administration on 23-25 February 2007. The results of this forum are being coordinated with the ongoing efforts of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health and Human Services, and others.