Planning for pandemic influenza
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[MARCH 23, 2006]
-- Should highly pathogenic H5N1 arrive in the U.S., it does not
signal an influenza pandemic. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services has been preparing for pandemic influenza
for several years. Ongoing preparations include the following:
Working with the
World Health Organization and with other nations to help detect
human cases of bird flu and contain a flu pandemic if one
manufacturing and testing of influenza vaccines, including
finding more reliable and quicker ways to make large quantities
national stockpile of anti-viral drugs to help treat and control
the spread of disease.
efforts of federal, state, tribal and local health agencies to
prepare for and respond to pandemic influenza.
federal agencies to prepare and to encourage communities,
businesses and organizations to plan for pandemic influenza.
Each individual and family should know both the magnitude of what
can happen during a pandemic outbreak and what actions can be taken
to help lessen the impact of an influenza pandemic on themselves and
To plan for a pandemic:
Store a supply of
water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store
or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you
to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other
types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters.
nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand,
including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold
medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
Talk with family
members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they
got sick or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.
Get involved in
your community as it works to prepare for an influenza pandemic.
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To limit the spread of germs and prevent infection:
children to wash hands frequently with soap and water, and model
the correct behavior.
children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, and be sure
to model that behavior.
children to stay away from others as much as possible if they
are sick. Stay home from work and school if sick.
Knowing the facts is the best preparation. Identify sources you
can count on for reliable information. If a pandemic occurs, having
accurate and reliable information will be critical.
and timely information is available at
Another source for
information on pandemic influenza is the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention toll-free line at 1 (800) CDC-INFO [1
(800) 232-4636]. This line is available in English and Spanish,
24 hours a day, seven days a week. The TTY number is 1 (888)
232-6348. Questions can be e-mailed to
information on local and state government Web pages. Links are
available to each state department of public health at
Listen to local
and national radio, watch news reports on television, and read
your newspaper and other sources of printed and Web-based
Talk to your local
health care providers and public health officials.
Department of Agriculture news release]