In its policy summary, APHA recommends key changes to the nation's
strategy for preparing and responding to a flu pandemic, to ensure
the health and safety of all individuals. Among its top concerns is
the need for additional resources for an already overburdened public
health work force that may lack the resources to fully respond to a
flu outbreak. Other needs include clear federal guidance on school
closures, quarantine and occupational health in the event of a
It is not just the public health sector that should be prepared
for a pandemic, said Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., F.A.C.P., APHA's
"The general public must be equipped with the proper resources to
prepare themselves in the event of a flu pandemic," Benjamin said.
"The better we prepare now, the better our chances will be for
protecting the health of Americans during an emergency."
APHA's recommendations include:
for states, localities, hospitals and public health labs to
expand their capacity to respond to pandemic flu.
investment in the public health work force, so there are enough
employees necessary to serve on the front lines in preparing for
and responding to a pandemic and annual seasonal epidemics.
Medicaid coverage to ensure that uninsured Americans will
receive appropriate countermeasures and care in the event of
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for the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand
washing, "snow days," isolation and quarantine.
methods to purchase, distribute and track vaccines and anti-virals.
occupational and mental health issues, such as potential
distress and sick leave from work, in pandemic planning and
implementing laws and policies that grant federal, state and
local health officers the authority to make decisions about
quarantine and isolation orders.
The full text of the pandemic influenza policy summary, "APHA's
Prescription for Pandemic Flu," with all recommendations, is
Preparedness is also the theme of APHA's recently launched Get
Ready campaign, which provides resources to help the public prepare
for a flu pandemic and outbreaks of other emerging infectious
diseases. The campaign includes fact sheets, podcasts and a blog
that provide readers with background information on avian and
pandemic influenza and practical advice on how to prepare
themselves, their families and their communities. Campaign materials
are accessible through
APHA will also encourage Americans to prepare effectively for
public health threats, from bioterrorism and natural disasters to
disease outbreaks, during National Public Health Week, April 2-8.
More information on National Public Health Week is available at
American Public Health Association news release]