Responding to a Pandemic, Essay Example

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Words: 577

Essay

Introduction

One of the most serious risks facing the world health authorities is the risk of a Flu Pandemic. Most Governments throughout the world have emergency preparation plans in order to deal with such an emergency.  This paper explores how the varying health authorities plan for a response to a Flu pandemic. This case study considers a potential  cluster of Avian flu appearing in  the state of Florida, which is currently localised, but shows evidence of human transmission.

Epidemic Controls

The state of Florida has one of the better surveillance and preventative action programs in the USA. “Sentinel physicians” report any unusual occurrences to the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and the CDC. DOH laboratory facilities and staff have been increased, allowing for more timely diagnosis of avian flu should a case occur” (Florida Health.com, 2011).  Early preventative measures are based around containment. In a localised area the cluster would be sealed off and quarantined. A program of vaccination would commence immediately for the localised area. “While there is currently no vaccine for bird flu, our ability to provide mass inoculations to our population during a crisis has been successfully tested.” (Florida Health.com, 2011).  Stocks of avian flu vaccine are maintained and an inoculation program for people in the state of Florida would commence.

Legal Authorities

In order to stop the spread of the disease it may require temporary suspension of communications like Airport closure, harbour closure and other forms of inbound / outbound transportation. This may need Federal Government approval  and potential use of the National Guard in order to help maintain security, law and order.  In an emergency it may require the lifting of the rules governing Medicare and Medicaid in order to make vaccines freely available. The State Governors also have legal powers – “These include power of the Governor or the Governor’s designees, during a declared national security or peacetime emergency, to direct and control the occupancy of facilities; exit from or entry to stricken or threatened public places, movement of persons on foot or by private and public transportation” (Minnesota Department of Health, 2011). This approach would be adopted over most States.

Factors determining success

Speed of execution will be of the essence in terms of containment of the outbreak.  The ability to create calm and order of the people and avoid panics.  Having an adequate stock of vaccines to take immediate action to prevent the spread of the disease.  Creating an isolation zone and having adequate stocks of facial masks.

Ability to control the outbreak

It is unlikely that a Pandemic could be halted in its entirety, should that event occur.  Timely action would be critical to obtain containment  and prevent a movement to Phase 6. There is no doubt that such an event would not only hit Florida hard but the entire USA – “a pandemic could infect 30% or more of the U.S. population and result in the deaths of 209,000 -1,903,000 U.S. residents” (State of Florida Dept of Health, 2011).

The Federal Government have invested heavily in the preparedness for a pandemic but certain states may not be adequately prepared or funded for such an event. Florida is not amongst them being well prepared for emergency situations.

References

Florida Health.com. (2011, 11 12). Pandemic Influenza Action Plan. Retrieved from Florida Health.com: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/rw_bulletins/panfluplanindex.html

Minnesota Department of Health. (2011, 11 12). Minnesota Department of Health. Retrieved from Legal Authority for Pandemic Influenza Planning: http://www.health.state.mn.us/oep/healthcare/flucenter/legal.html

State of Florida Dept of Health. (2011, 11 12). Pandemic Influenza. Retrieved from State of Florida Dept of Health: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/rw_Bulletins/flpanfluv104final.pdf

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