The Historical Collections department at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia, has posted a fascinating look back at what dealing with a pandemic was like “back in the day.” Have a look at the online exihibit of “The Plague Book,” to see a variety of methodologies for preventing plague and for treating it (if you failed to prevent it). I’m sure we’ve come a long way toward both efforts when it comes to anticipating a pandemic of influenza, but you can’t help wondering if taking “two hand-ful of Valerian, three roots of Danewort, a handful of Smallage, or Lovage, if you can get it, seethe them all in butter and water, & a few crumbs of bread, and make a poultice thereof” might be as helpful as anything in the event of a vaccine shortage!
The World Health Organization has created a six phase pandemic alert system for informing the world of the seriousness of a threat. Each alert phase triggers a series of activities to be undertaken by WHO. Click on the chart below to view the current phase of alert.
According to the CDC, flu season in the United States usually runs from November through March. Here’s a link to CDC’s FluView, which is a weekly surveillence report.
Check this out! Did we think that our procedures are fine for shelter-in-place? Take a look at this document from the “Redefining Readiness” work group, authored by some very well-spoken people from the New York Academy of Medicine. Having any procedure is better than none, I suppose, but the questions raised by this document are as good as “lessons learned” before the event happens! Back to the drawing board we go!
The Leadership Forum on Pandemic Planning begins tomorrow in Washington, DC. A blog summit has been going on since May 23rd. Here’s a link to a posting on that blog by Michael Redlener, Director, National Center of Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, titled “Preparing for Pandemics: What We Need to Do Now.” Note his concern about hospitals being prepared for a pandemic …
“But the problem is that we will need the response and treatment capacity of our hospitals and health care facilities to be in optimal condition if and when we actually experience a serious pandemic. And, if we continue along the track we’re currently on, the hospitals will not, in the foreseeable future, be ready.”
On June 13th, a Leadership Forum will be held in Washington, DC on pandemic preparedness. As a lead up to the event, the Department of Health and Human Services is hosting a five-week blog summit. The purpose of the blog is to promote an open conversation about the importance of pandemic preparedness.