WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Trust for America's Health (TFAH), the Center for Biosecurity, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) issued a new analysis today, Pandemic Flu: Lessons From the Frontlines, which found that the initial response to the H1N1 outbreak showed strong coordination and communication and an ability to adapt to changing circumstances from U.S. officials, but it also showed how quickly the nation's core public health capacity would be overwhelmed if an outbreak were more severe or widespread.
"H1N1 is a real-world test of our initial emergency response capabilities -- all of the planning and preparations have paid off. The country is significantly ahead of where we were a few years ago," said Jeff Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director of TFAH. "However, the outbreak also revealed serious gaps in our nation's preparedness for pandemic flu and other public health emergencies."
The Pandemic Flu: Lessons from the Frontlines report reviews 10 early lessons learned from the response to the H1N1 (swine) flu outbreak, 10 ongoing core vulnerabilities in U.S. pandemic flu preparedness, and case studies of challenges communities around the country faced when responding to the outbreak. The 10 early lessons learned from the 2009 H1N1 outbreak in the report were that:
"Its critical to understand what worked as planned in the H1N1 response, as well as to look at what needs to be strengthened, fixed, or better funded. This report is a contribution to that effort," said Thomas Inglesby, MD, Deputy Director, Center for Biosecurity of UPMC.
The report also identified some surprises encountered during the H1N1 outbreak, including that much of the world's pandemic planning had revolved around the potential threat of the H5N1 (bird) flu virus, which had been circulating in Asia and elsewhere for nearly a decade. It also reveals that planners anticipated there would be six weeks of lead time between the time a novel flu virus was identified and its spread to the United States.
In addition, according to the analysis in Pandemic Flu: Lessons from the Frontlines, there are a number of systemic gaps in the nation's ability to respond to a pandemic flu outbreak. To further strengthen U.S. preparedness, the following 10 core areas must be addressed:
The full analysis is available on TFAH's Web site at www.healthyamericans.org. The report was supported by a grant from RWJF.
Trust for America's Health is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority. www.healthyamericans.org
The Center for Biosecurity is an independent, non-profit organization of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Their mission is to strengthen national security by reducing the risks posed by biological attacks, epidemics, and other destabilizing events and to improve the nation's resilience in the face of such incidents.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need -- the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.
|SOURCE Trust for America's Health|
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