Influenza Pandemic Preparation and Response: A Citizen's Guide
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Should an influenza pandemic begin during 2007, there would at best be 1.5 billion doses of vaccine available for use in a world of over 6 billion population - and even this amount would require 24 hour production by the world's influenza vaccine manufacturers.
Absenteeism from schools and the workplace would rapidly occur worldwide, as well as a surge of patients seeking care through the medical system. Absenteeism at the workplace could interfere with services ranging from commerce and trade to health care, police enforcement and many other day to day activities.
Though efforts are being undertaken to increase influenza vaccine production capacity so that enough vaccine would be available to prevent infection, and anti-viral medications are being stockpiled nationally and internationally, the risk of a pandemic remains, though lack of predictability precludes quantification of that risk.
Influenza Pandemic Preparation and Response: A Citizen's Guide describes possible consequences of an influenza pandemic, and makes it clear that individuals and families must and can know what to do should a pandemic occur.
It also describes how those with this knowledge can help to educate others in the simple measures that will mitigate and limit the negative impact of an influenza pandemic on the world's communities.
Public health authorities throughout the world agree that the responsibility to respond to a public health emergency such as pandemic influenza cannot be fully placed under the responsibility of health workers and other primary responders, who may themselves become incapacitated by illness and death.
It is thus each individual's responsibility, alone or collectively, to plan for and respond to a pandemic in the home and/or in the community. Influenza Pandemic Preparation and Response: A Citizen's Guide clearly describes, in lay terms, the actions that each of us can take.
— David L. Heymann, M.D., World Health Organization, Executive Director, Communicable Diseases
Table Of Contents
- Chapter 1: An Introduction To Pandemics, 1
- Chapter 2: Prevention And Preparation, 15
- Chapter 3: Response, 27
- Chapter 4: Communication And Volunteering, 37
- Chapter 5: Recovery And Waves, 43
- Bibliography, 47
- Appendix, 48
- Glossary, 60
An Introduction to Pandemics
??Avian influenza is not a challenge.
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It is a predicament of extraordinary proportions. As The Lancet wrote after the 1918 influenza pandemic, if only we had acted earlier with a "collective health conscience", many millions of lives could have been saved.
Today, we are repeating the same mistakes of a century ago.??
— The Lancet May 2006
In this chapter you will learn:
- What is a pandemic
- About current governmental viewpoints on pandemic response
- History of pandemics
- Impact of pandemics to you and your community
- Facts about Bird Flu
After reading this chapter, you will be able to:
- Talk with your friends, family, and community members about the need for pandemic preparedness
This Pandemic Survival Guide is designed to help you prepare for a future pandemic - for you, your family, and your friends
Pandemics are unpredictable in their severity but are virtually certain to occur.
There are about three pandemics per century. Case in point - there were three pandemics in the 20th century that affected the world's population.
The Great Flu of 1918 caused between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide1. More Americans died from this influenza pandemic than in all the wars of the 20th century combined.
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For comparison, consider that over 1800 people died during Hurricane Katrina, and an estimated 3000 people died during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. On a more severe scale, 283,000 people died during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.1 Projections expect 253,000 people to die in California alone, and 10,713,000 people are expected to fall ill in that state.2
Research has shown that cities and citizens that were prepared and implemented an immediate response to the pandemics in the past experienced much less loss of life than those that weren't prepared and took longer to react.
This tells us the importance of preparation for future pandemics.
The responsibility for preparation falls to each individual and family.
In the event that the world experiences another flu pandemic, resources will be spread thin. Families that have taken the suggested steps to prepare will be at an advantage.
Read on and find out ways you and your family can be better prepared in the event of a world-wide flu pandemic. You'll be glad you did.
The authorities agree
??Pandemics are global in nature, but their impact is local. When the next pandemic strikes, as it surely will, it is likely to touch the lives of every individual, family, and community.
Our task is to make sure that when this happens, we will be a Nation prepared.??
— Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
No act of modern warfare has the potential to threaten as many lives and cause as much disruption to the global economy as the H5N1 avian influenza would if it makes the evolutionary leap that allows it to spread among humans as quickly and as lethally as it has among birds.
— Stephen Flynn, homeland security expert and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
The Importance of Information
??If people have good information, they will generally make good decisions about what to do for themselves and their families.
Helping families, neighborhoods, and communities think about how life will be impacted during a pandemic should equip them to better react during an actual pandemic.??
— Pierre Omidyar, Founder and Chairman, eBay; Cofounder and Founding Partner, Omidyar Network
The Impact of a Pandemic
- Communities will be affected simultaneously
- At least 30% of the overall population will become infected
- Absenteeism is expected to be upward of 50%
- A pandemic is likely to last for 12 to 18 months
- Communities could be affected by several waves lasting 6 to 8 weeks each
- Vaccines and antiviral drugs for pandemic influenza will be in short supply, may be of limited effectiveness, and will likely not be available to most communities
- Most of the ill may wish to seek medical care
- All healthcare systems will be overwhelmed
- Health facilities are unlikely to be available to most, and may be inadvisable to enter owing to increased chances of exposure to the virus
- People and communities will likely be on their own without the help of mutual aid from other communities, hospitals, or other public services
What is a pandemic?
A pandemic is a global outbreak of an infectious disease.