Pandemic Influenza Awareness Week Day 5: How ready are we, and what can YOU do?


Thus far this week, I’ve discussed the history of pandemic influenza in general, and avian flu in particular. I’ve discussed some issues that must be addressed to prepare us for a pandemic, and the groundbreaking resurrection of the Spanish influenza virus. Today I want to end the series with a look at how prepared we currently are as a nation, and highlight some personal preparedness steps you can take.

If you recall from Tuesday, the first outbreak of H5N1 was back in 1997. The anthrax attacks were in 2001. Surely by now we’re prepared for some kind of serious, large-scale, biological event, right? Well…

The Feds: “um, er, the dog ate my homework?”

The U.S. is still working on finalizing its Pandemic Influenza plan, which it keeps promising will be done “soon.” But scientists are a bit skeptical…

“We need more than just a plan; we need the resources to actually activate it,” said Jeffrey Levi, a pandemic specialist at the Trust. “The real test of the plan will be whether it comes with dollars attached.”

The current draft of the administration’s plan fills several hundred pages. It describes the role of the federal government in coordinating the response to a flu pandemic and outlines steps to be taken at all levels of government before and during an outbreak.

In addition to production and stockpiling of vaccines and antivirals, the plan seeks to conduct research, prepare public education campaigns and develop ways for hospitals to handle large numbers of patients.

Continue reading (at Aetiology)


Just want to say that this was a fantastic and informative series of posts. Thank you.


Your advice will not go unheeded. It sounds like the best prevention is self isolation for a period of time minimizing contact. Be prepared and if the pandemic occurs, take some vacation time. Spend some quality time with the family, drag out all those old board games like monopoly. Look at it as an adventure a long campout at home. Don’t Panic, but don’t expect help.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

I always figured that since we are so much more hygienic and well-nourished than we were in 1918, things would fare a little better this time around?

Harald Korneliussen Wrote:

I always figured that since we are so much more hygienic and well-nourished than we were in 1918, things would fare a little better this time around?

If you’re referring only to America and other similar countries, you’re probably right. We also have mechanical ventilators (though I mentioned they’d likely be scarce in a pandemic situation), antibiotics for secondary pneumonia, and Tamiflu, which [may] help against the virus itself. But, much of the world is very similar to the way we were in 1918–so worldwide, the potential for misery is still great. And certainly, any size pandemic is going to hurt us–even if it doesn’t come close to the devastation of 1918.

Thank you for the fine series on Pandemic Influenza. I see there’s a new thread on Panda Influence which complements it nicely.

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This page contains a single entry by Tara Smith published on October 7, 2005 10:27 AM.

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