News & Perspective

Dec 09, 2008

Dec 09, 2008

US preparedness report card decries funding lag

(CIDRAP News) – This year's report card from Trust for America's Health (TFAH) on state and national public health emergency preparedness shows some signs of progress along with major gaps, sagging funding, and worry that the current economic crisis will bring deeper spending cuts.

Nov 12, 2008

Nov 12, 2008

Feds stage airport test of plan to slow pandemic

(CIDRAP News) – Officials from several agencies recently converged on Miami's international airport to take part in a full-scale exercise of the federal government's risk-based strategy to slow the spread of a future pandemic influenza virus across US borders.

Oct 27, 2008

Oct 27, 2008

Drug-resistant flu viruses cause growing concern

– WASHINGTON, DC (CIDRAP News) – Health officials worldwide are becoming increasingly concerned about influenza viruses' resistance to antiviral drugs, which can shut down a flu infection or mitigate symptoms. Flu antivirals are vital for reducing severe illness and death in average flu seasons and could be essential bulwarks against an influenza pandemic if one began.

Jul 23, 2008

Jul 23, 2008

New pandemic vaccine plan keeps focus on critical workers

(CIDRAP News) – Federal health officials today released their official guidance on allocating vaccine during an influenza pandemic, with few changes from a previous draft that put military personnel, critical health and emergency workers, pregnant women, and small children at the head of the line.

Jun 03, 2008

Jun 03, 2008

HHS offers pandemic guidance on masks, antivirals

(CIDRAP News) – Proposed pandemic preparedness guidance released by the federal government today recommends that people wear face masks if they have to go into crowds during an influenza pandemic and says critical infrastructure businesses should consider stockpiling antiviral drugs, among various other suggestions.

May 28, 2008

May 28, 2008

Some avian flu H7 viruses growing more human-like

(CIDRAP News) – Scientists have found evidence that North American avian influenza viruses of the H7 subtype are becoming more like human flu viruses in their ability to attach to host cells, which suggests they may be improving their capacity to infect humans.

Mar 19, 2008

Mar 19, 2008

HHS includes online services in pandemic communication drill

(CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently held a tabletop exercise to assess how it could best work with the news media—including blogs and other online-only information sources—to get status updates and vital health information to the American people during an influenza pandemic.

Mar 17, 2008

Mar 17, 2008

CDC pandemic exercise highlights drug, mitigation, travel issues

(CIDRAP News) – In the early stages of an influenza pandemic, cases are spreading among migrant workers in Michigan. The state's health department has a supply of antiviral drugs from the federal stockpile and is using them to treat the sick, but, concerned about breaking federal rules, is withholding them from others exposed to the virus—thereby missing a chance to help contain it.

Mar 10, 2008

Mar 10, 2008

Hectic season exposes gaps in flu preparedness

(CIDRAP News) – Friday's announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that influenza appears to be slowing down has left medical personnel relieved for the imminent end of a harsh flu season.

But it has also left them worried over weaknesses that the season exposed in public health's ability to anticipate flu's behavior, and over doubts raised among their patients by the flu vaccine's diminished effectiveness.

Jan 23, 2008

Jan 23, 2008

GAO cites barriers to antiviral, vaccine roles in pandemic

(CIDRAP News) – Antiviral medications and vaccines are two tools that many government and health officials hope will stall the spread of an influenza pandemic, but each strategy has daunting challenges, according to a new report from Congress's Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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