HHS releases plan for coping with pandemic flu

first_imgAug 26, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Federal health officials today released a lengthy plan for dealing with the potentially overwhelming threat of an influenza pandemic like those that occurred three times in the last century.A flu pandemic today would find the nation unprepared to respond immediately with an effective vaccine or adequate supplies of antiviral drugs, says the plan released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Such an event could put a crushing burden on the healthcare system and disrupt transportation, business, and public safety, the document states.The draft plan describes numerous steps to take before and during a pandemic. “This plan will serve as our roadmap on how we as a nation, and as a member of the global health community, respond to the next pandemic influenza outbreak,” HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said in a news release. “Our proposed strategy draws upon the wealth of experience and knowledge we have gained in responding to a number of recent public health threats, including SARS and avian influenza.”Flu pandemics struck three times in the 20th century, the release notes. In 1968 the Hong Kong flu caused close to 34,000 deaths in the United States, and in 1957 the Asian flu killed about 70,000. The most deadly pandemic, the Spanish flu in 1918 and 1919, sickened 20% to 40% of the world’s population and killed about 675,000 people in the United States alone, according to HHS.Flu viruses change slightly each year, requiring annual modifications in the vaccines used against them. In contrast, HHS says, “A pandemic influenza virus is one that represents a major, sudden shift in the virus’ structure that increases its ability to cause illness in a large proportion of the population.” Disease experts fear that such a shift could occur if the H5N1 avian influenza virus currently circulating in East Asia combined with a human flu virus, spawning a new variety that could spread easily from person to person.The Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan, as it is called, includes a 55-page main document and 12 “annexes,” which provide guidance for state and local health departments and private healthcare organizations as well as technical information on various preparedness topics. HHS is inviting the public to comment on the plan within the next 60 days.The nation’s first pandemic preparedness plan was developed in 1978, not long after the swine flu cases and vaccination campaign in 1976, according to the document. The plan was last updated in 1993. HHS calls the new plan an “evergreen” document—one that will be constantly modified as new developments warrant.The report cites five grim characteristics of a flu pandemic that guided the planning: simultaneous outbreaks in communities nationwide; an overwhelming burden of ill persons requiring hospitalization or outpatient medical care; likely shortages and delays in the availability of vaccines and antiviral drugs; disruption of national and community infrastructures including transportation, commerce, utilities and public safety; and global outbreaks.The plan says it’s impossible to predict the overall impact of a pandemic on the nation. But it cites estimates published in 1999 of 89,000 to 207,000 deaths, 314,000 to 733,000 hospitalizations, and 18 million to 42 million outpatient medical visits.Vaccination is the primary tool for fighting a flu pandemic, but it takes 6 to 8 months to produce a vaccine for a newly identified flu virus, the document says. Thus it’s not likely that a vaccine will be ready when a pandemic first emerges. In the early stages, the nation will have to rely on antiviral drugs, “quality medical care,” and infection control measures to keep the virus from spreading.Antiviral drugs such as amantadine and oseltamivir can reduce the severity of flu when used preventively or given within 48 hours of illness onset. But, the plan says, the supply of these is limited and cannot be rapidly expanded because there are few manufacturers and the production process is slow. Oseltamivir was added to the Strategic National Stockpile of drugs last year, and HHS is continuing to study how best to use antivirals in a pandemic, according to the plan.Once a vaccine does become available in a pandemic setting, the demand is likely to far exceed the supply at first, the document states. Consequently, the vaccine initially will have to be reserved for certain groups, such as healthcare workers, people providing essential public services, and those with certain medical conditions. Other decisions about who should have priority for vaccine will depend on the pattern of the pandemic and may not necessarily be the same as for annual flu vaccination.HHS expects that in a pandemic, vaccine shortages could spawn a “gray market” with high prices for some vaccine doses, as has happened in some recent years. The agency is considering several options for buying and distributing vaccine. The government could buy all the available vaccine and then distribute it to state and local health departments, or the country could rely on a mixed public-private system or on the present, primarily private system of vaccine purchasing and distribution.The plan says disease-control measures other than vaccines and antivirals could also be used to fight a flu pandemic. For example, usual infection control measures would be helpful in hospitals. However, because people can carry flu viruses without being sick, efforts to keep the viruses out of the country or limit spread in the community are not very effective. On the other hand, if a new virus strain didn’t spread quite as readily, measures such as screening travelers, closing schools, and quarantining exposed people could help, the report states.The plan says that HHS must help state and local governments and the healthcare system plan for a pandemic in view of the likelihood of illness among healthcare workers and shortages of hospital beds and medical equipment and supplies. “Health care facilities may need to be established in nontraditional sites to help address temporary surge needs,” the plan states.The document recommends taking numerous preparedness steps during “inter-pandemic” periods. For example, in the vaccine arena, the plan calls for developing libraries of novel influenza strains that could cause a pandemic and preparing reagents to diagnose infection. The plan also calls for efforts to develop a vaccine targeting an unchanging portion of the flu virus, which would sidestep the need to modify the vaccine every year and possibly permit the establishment of a vaccine stockpile.Some of the other recommended measures include:Strengthening global human and veterinary surveillance of influenzaIncreasing US influenza surveillance to a year-round effortDeveloping investigational vaccines for selected novel influenza strains and evaluating them in clinical studiesDisease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of this Web site, said he hopes the new plan will spur state and local officials and the healthcare system to recognize the serious threat of a flu pandemic. He said he has contributed to federal preparedness efforts for pandemic flu over the years but was not directly involved in producing the latest plan.”The important message is that this plan lays out in substantial detail what needs to be done at the federal, state, and local level to better prepare us for a potential pandemic of influenza,” Osterholm said. “It really calls upon state and local officials, together with healthcare providers and the healthcare system, to come together and take this seriously—that in fact a pandemic is going to occur.”We’re talking about the possibility of 3% to 5% of the population getting ill and dying. Even with this plan, will we be able to get the kinds of hard-to-conduct planning activities moving in state and local areas? It would be unfortunate if state and local officials say, ‘Here’s a federal plan, we don’t have to do any more.’ This is just a start.”See also:Aug 26 HHS news releasehttp://archive.hhs.gov/news/press/2004pres/20040826.htmlMain body of preparedness planhttp://www.flu.gov/planning-preparedness/federal/hhspandemicinfluenzaplan.pdflast_img read more

Even the Littlest Hands Help at the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair

first_img“I wanted to show them that volunteering and service to others is part of life,” said Meg Chrisner-Keefe, who volunteers and brings her four children, ages 7 and younger, to help. The Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, the annual fund drive for the fire department, runs through Saturday, Aug. 31. “It’s summertime so we’re competing with beach clubs, friends and, well, summer!” FAIR HAVEN – They arrive on foot, on bike and in their parents’ cars descending on the quiet fairgrounds at 8 a.m. Each morning up to 40 children of all ages and sizes come to pitch in to make the Fair Haven Firemen’s Fair, the oldest firemen’s fair in New Jersey, a culinary success. The help is invaluable, according to Nancy Ostrander, who coordinates the effort, keeping the young volunteers safe and equipped with tools. What’s become somewhat of a rite-of-passage for many, children as young as 2 will join in the community project. Parents accompany the littlest ones and often kids come every summer until they leave for college. When the rescue truck pulls up with the morning’s vegetables, the kids stand ready to shuck the corn, peel the eggplant, restock the condiments and bread the fish – whatever tasks are needed. The eager volunteers are rewarded with ride or meal tickets. Some tips for prepping food from the kids: If you’re breading fish, it helps if you like to eat fish. And for peeling the sometimes slippery eggplants, “get a good peeler.” By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez | Photos by Nancy Ostranderlast_img read more

Bombers blast past J. Lloyd Crowe Hawks

first_imgBy Bruce Fuhr,The Nelson Daily SportsFreshman point guard Garrett Perry had a breakout game as the L.V. Rogers Bombers blasted the J. Lloyd Crowe Hawks 76-44 in Kootenay High School Boy’s Basketball League action Thursday night at the Hangar.Perry checked in with 20 points, but it was his fine distribution of the ball that caught the attention of Bomber head coach Blair D’Andrea.“Garrett stepped up at the point guard position,” D’Andrea said. “He hasn’t been playing with a lot of confidence of late but tonight he distributed the ball well and hit a lot of his shots.”“He deserved the 20 points he got tonight,” he added.Bombers turned a close game early into an easy win, especially after struggling Tuesday against Mount Sentinel Wildcats.Jason D’Andrea led all scorers with 24 points, including three from three-point land. John Zak had 18 points before spraining an ankle.Maverick Seed was a force on the boards for LVR. Jesse Zak also left the game with an ankle injury.“I’m happy with my UN (United Nations) team on the bench,” D’Andrea said with a chuckle. “They (David Chen, Jae Tak and Leonard Batubura) all chipped in with valuable floor time.”LVR is idle until Feb. 4-5 when the Bombers host a four-team tournament. The event is combined with four girls teams.On the boy’s side are Mount Sentinel, Selkirk Storm of Kimberley and Kalamalka Lakers of Vernon.sports@thenelsondaily.comlast_img read more


first_imgSantiago Gonzalez333489%$112,690 Kent Desormeaux901915921%$1,115,102 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Flavien Prat5482615%$310,130 SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS HOOPS BENEFIT THURSDAYLA TIA HEADS PRESIDENTS’ DAY FEATURE FEB. 16 Fernando Perez9299810%$384,414 Aaron Gryder353519%$198,090 TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won SANTA ANITA JOCKEYS-HOLY ANGELS ON TAP FEB. 12Corey Nakatani, whose natural athletic prowess spans wrestling, golf and basketball in addition to world-class race riding, is looking forward to the 48th annual Santa Anita Jockeys vs. Holy Angels School Charity Basketball Game next Thursday, Feb. 12, at La Salle High School in Pasadena.Proceeds benefit the Holy Angels athletic program, the Kentucky-based Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and the Eye on Jacob Foundation.“It’s a great cause and the kids are always great about it,” Nakatani said. “For a fewyears there, we had no chance, but now with me and Kent (Desormeaux) back, things are looking better. We have a few guys who can play a little bit. We’ll have some fun out there.”Sponsored by J. Paul Reddam’s CashCall and Santa Anita Park, game time is 7:15 p.m., with admission doors opening at 6:15 p.m.Hall of Fame jockeys Desormeaux, Laffit Pincay, Jr., Mike Smith, Alex Solis and Gary Stevens will be available for an autograph signing session beginning at 6:30 p.m.With Pincay serving as honorary team captain, Desormeaux, Smith and Solis will comprise a team of fellow active riders such as William Antongeorgi, Tyler Baze, Rafael Bejarano, Brice Blanc, Brandon Boulanger, Alex Canchari, Victor Espinoza, Santiago Gonzalez, Mario Gutierrez, Aaron Gryder, Edwin Maldonado, Felipe Martinez, Corey Nakatani, Irving Orozco, Martin Pedroza, Fernando Perez, Tiago Pereira, Flavien Prat, Iggy Puglisi, Kayla Stra, Joe Talamo, Elvis Trujillo, Drayden Van Dyke and perhaps others.The PDJF helps assist permanently disabled jockeys nationwide, while the Eye on Jacob Foundation, named for Jacob Desormeaux, who is the 16-year-old son of Kent, benefits those suffering from Usher’s Syndrome. An extremely rare neurological disorder, Usher’s Syndrome causes progressive loss of hearing, imbalance, and eventual loss of sight in approximately 14,000 children in the United States.HRTV’s Kurt Hoover, a former standout cager at Arcadia High School, will again coach the jockeys’ team. Known for his laid-back approach, Hoover stated his game-day philosophy will be similar to that of past years–“We’ll keep the clock runnin’ and just let ’em run and gun.”Tickets are $5 per person, and for every two tickets purchased, individuals receive one free admission ticket to Santa Anita. Additionally, there will be opportunities to win a trip to Las Vegas and a Paintball Package to Hollywood Sports Paintball and Airsoft Park.La Salle High School is located at the southwest corner of Michillinda Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd. in Pasadena, approximately four miles northwest of Santa Anita. Admission tickets and promotional tee shirts are on sale now at Champions! Gifts and Apparel in Santa Anita’s East Paddock Gardens, or through Holy Angels School. Joseph Talamo10912131611%$910,284 Elvis Trujillo1071314912%$825,926 John Sadler56691011%$409,772 Jerry Hollendorfer8517121020%$1,562,984 Doug O’Neill71871011%$423,376 Victor Espinoza771514919%$844,190 Bob Baffert49911718%$956,568 Michael Pender1843122%$123,880 Corey Nakatani6398814%$515,350 Mark Casse3465418%$545,520 -30- Felipe Valdez1444229%$83,760 Edwin Maldonado5863810%$248,036 Brandon Boulanger635368%$131,586 Peter Miller691416620%$766,440 (Current Through Friday, Feb. 6)center_img JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%Money Won Martin Garcia60912715%$842,500 Mark Glatt3958613%$288,824 Philip D’Amato3768616%$340,190 Jeff Bonde1840322%$178,930 Brice Blanc2131314%$112,252 Tyler Baze12415121612%$938,354 Richard Mandella2853518%$235,410 Drayden Van Dyke10312131612%$703,746 Tiago Pereira6264810%$182,404 Ron Ellis2742515%$178,790 James Cassidy3355615%$193,860 A. C. Avila1740224%$94,924 Richard Baltas3154316%$174,138 Martin Pedroza861016812%$412,850 Peter Eurton3884721%$364,508 Hector Palma1352038%$93,830 Gary Stevens4695720%$619,152 Rafael Bejarano12430211824%$1,433,544 Carla Gaines2353122%$290,865 Mike Smith571211921%$917,371 Eddie Truman940144%$168,490 FINISH LINES: California Cup Derby winner Mischief Clem worked five furlongs onSanta Anita’s main track Saturday in a rapid 59.80under Kent Desormeaux . . . Sam’s Sister, winner of the Grade I La Brea Stakes on opening day,will be ridden by Elvis Trujillo in the Grade II, $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel next Saturday for Jerry Hollendorfer, agent Tom Knust reports . . . Agent Scotty McClellan has booked Joe Talamo on War Story for trainer Tom Amoss in the Grade III Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park next Saturday . . . Jockey Fernando Perez has been suspended three racing days (Feb. 12, 13and 14) for causing interference aboard Richard’s Boy in Thursday’s sixth race. . . Monday, Feb. 16, is Presidents’ Day, featuring live racing and Dollar Day at Santa Anita. Draft beers, hot dogs and sodas will be just a buck. The holiday feature race is the Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf. Expected to head the field is La Tia, winner of the Grade I Matriarch at Del Mar last Nov. 30 under Joel Rosario, who will be back aboard the 10-race winner trained by Armando De la certa . . . Former agent Harry (The Hat) Hacek was a visitor at Clockers’ Corner Saturday. “I’m just out and about renewing old acquaintances and here to see the big race,” Hacek said in reference to the San Antonio Invitational . . . Accomplished actor Alex Rocco, best-known for his signature portrayal of Las Vegas casino boss Moe Green in the all-time 1972 movie classic, “The Godfather,” was a Santa Anita visitor Friday along with his lovely wife, actress Shannon Wilcox.last_img read more

Driving SA software development

first_img30 May 2005The University of the Witwatersrand and the City of Johannesburg, in partnership with government and industry in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, have launched the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE).The centre aims to serve as a “nucleus for software development in South Africa and on the continent”, said Professor Barry Dwolatzky, a director at the centre.The JCSE, he said, would grow South Africa’s capacity to deliver world-class software, develop research and training initiatives to strengthen the local software development industry, and promote best practice in software development within an African context.According to Dwolatsky, international corporations are increasingly outsourcing software development to emerging countries such as South Africa, India, China and Russia, taking advantage of high levels of skills at lower costs.“The SA software development industry has flashes of brilliance and some really notable successes, but it is largely immature, ad hoc, and small-scale”, Dwolatsky said.“It will not be able to compete against other global markets unless something is done now. The government, business – both SMMEs and large corporates – and academic worlds need to get together and get the ball rolling right now.”The centre, established within the university’s School of Electrical and Information Engineering, will offer high-level public lectures, master classes, continuing professional development courses and technology incubation to develop ICT leadership for the country.It will also offer consulting and software certification and accreditation services, and carry out applied research in collaboration with various companies and organisations.“Facilities will also be established, including world-class infrastructure, specialised computer laboratories, a software engineering library and lecture and meeting rooms,” Dwolatzky said.In one of the centre’s first collaborations with business, IBM is to set up a Linux Centre of Competence at the JCSE, installing IBM server equipment worth over R2-million, as well as a large suite of Linux-based software.According to the JCSE, IBM’s Linux centre will provide both a Linux demonstration environment for IBM customers and a powerful research and teaching environment for JCSE students and clients.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

RootsTech: Genealogy Gets Wired to the Gills

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts The conference attendees crowded the hall of the Salt Palace to listen to a librarian who specializes in genealogy talk about online tools like the Internet Archive, Flickr and StoryCorps. There was hardly a seat free in a hall that held several thousand. Par for the course for a tech conference. So far. What sets this conference apart is the average age, which can’t have been below sixty, and the nature of the listeners, the overwhelming majority of whom are not developers or tech marketers, but genealogists. Genealogy, or family history research, is an enterprise that used to primarily feature such cutting edge technology as ledgers and later – gasp! – microfiche, has now firmly landed in the 21st century. RootsTech, sponsored by FamilySearch, is one of the first conferences dedicated to the the application of online technology to historical family research. Putting their technology where their conference is, RootsTech is streaming its keynotes online and the flood of family history bloggers are tweeting it with the #rootstech hashtag. Talks include the use of cloud computing in family research and use of media sharing sites to preserve individual family history. Sessions move from very soft tech, like which genealogical websites to use for what, to very hard, including an examination of the the mobile web and “Bringing Distributed Version Control to Arbitrary Object Graphs.” Perhaps the most interesting undertaking is a programming contest. Programmers were invited to use the FamilySearch API to create a genealogical tool. The winners will receive a small cash prize. Taking place in Salt Lake City, the conference is leveraging the Latter Day Saints’ long-standing love-affair with family research. As far as genealogy goes, the church serves the function that Nike does in sports products in the Northwest, as a center-of-gravity and attractant. The area’s genealogical libraries are legendary and were among the first targets of FamilySearch’s move online beginning in 1989, 104 years after the company’s beginning as the Genealogical Society of Utah. It currently has a vast database that includes over a billion names in its searchable database. In the next day or two I’ll examine the API contests’ contestants and winners and talk to its CEO about the technological future of our families’ pasts. Salt Palace photo by Jingles the Pirate. Yep. Editor’s disclosure: RootsTech covered Mr. Hopkins’ airfare and hotel. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#conferences#web center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… curt hopkinslast_img read more

Digital Magazine Subscriptions: iTunes & Kindle Still A Mess

first_imgToday I reviewed my magazine subscriptions, partly to see which of Apple’s iTunes, Amazon’s Kindle and digital magazine indie Zinio has the best offering currently. My check reaffirmed many positive things about digital magazines, but one thing still frustrates me: the user experience for subscriptions in both iTunes and Kindle. Apple and Amazon could learn a thing or two from the specialist in digital magazines, Zinio.My current tally of magazine subscriptions is 12. Of those, only one is not a digital magazine that I read on my iPad – and that’s because it’s a niche health magazine that isn’t available digitally. I also discovered in my review that only two of my twelve annual subscriptions cost more than US$50 per year. So not only are most magazines that I’m interested in available digitally, they’re all relatively inexpensive.Here’s a table showing ten of my digital magazine subscriptions: what I pay annually for each of them, and which platform I use. For various reasons, the prices I pay aren’t necessarily the cheapest available. Sometimes my location (New Zealand) increases the cost, or sometimes I opt for a higher priced better reading experience on a certain platform. But in general, I do tend to go with the least expensive option – because the reading experience usually isn’t that much different across platforms. The exception is when a publisher creates an interactive experience for tablet devices, which is Wired’s approach. But a simple PDF is the most common format these days for digital magazines.As you can see, the pricing is probably the most attractive feature of digital magazines. I pay from 39 cents to $2.50 per issue (if I discount Scientific American, as my subscription for that is for both digital and print). Of course, American customers are long used to paying ridiculously low prices for magazine subscriptions. That’s because advertising is typically the main revenue source for commercial magazines – and that advertising mostly targets US customers. So publishers take the hit on printing and delivery costs, in order to reach the US audience. But what my American friends may not realize is that for the rest of the world, prices for popular magazines like Rolling Stone and Wired have traditionally been high. So digital magazines make the low priced magazine subscription model available to the rest of the world.Which brings me to the second major advantage of digital magazines: they’re available immediately, no matter where you are located. For me, out here in Middle-earth, that is most appreciated.The Bad News: Apple & Amazon Don’t Make It EasyThe only bad thing about the state of digital magazines is how poor the user experience for subscriptions is on both iTunes and Kindle.Apple has a Newsstand concept, but it’s confusing. You first have to download the publisher’s app, then subscribe either from within the app or on the publisher’s website. Once downloaded, each of these apps is housed in the Newsstand – a kind of meta-app. But the user experience leaves a lot to be desired. For example: you need to manually move around the magazine apps, to separate out your subscriptions from magazine apps you downloaded but didn’t subscribe to. Then sometimes you find yourself in the iTunes Store, when you thought you were in Newsstand (or are they the same thing? Yes, kind of… but then no, Newsstand is a separate icon on your iPad). The user experience of Newsstand is very unlike Apple: it’s unintuitive and a bit disorienting.Managing your subscriptions in iTunes (what you’re subscribed to, when it’s up for renewal, etc.) is even more confusing. Every time I want to check my iTunes magazine subscriptions, it takes me 5 minutes or so to work out where to go. For the record, you need to go to your iTunes account page and it’s an almost hidden option on there. Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market richard macmanus We can only hope that Apple and Amazon get their acts together and follow the example set by Zinio. Because right now, managing digital magazine subscriptions is a frustrating process. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Tags:#iPad#web As for Amazon’s Kindle, if anything it’s even harder than iTunes to manage your subscriptions. There is no option to manage your subscriptions from within the Kindle iPad app, as far as I could see. I eventually found it on the Amazon website under Your Account > Manage Your Kindle > Magazines.One last confusing aspect for digital magazine consumers is that often publishers have subscription offers on their own websites, which can be different from what’s available in iTunes, Kindle or Zinio. That’s entirely up to the publisher of course, but it does add another level of head scratching for the consumer.The shining light in the digital magazine space right now is Zinio. It offers a wonderful selection of digital magazines and its pricing is almost always better than either iTunes or Amazon Kindle. After my review today, I ended up moving a couple of my subscriptions from Kindle over to Zinio because the pricing and overall experience is better. While Zinio’s user interface for managing subscriptions is not perfect, it’s markedly better than iTunes or Kindle. Plus it’s about to improve even more, with a redesign (currently in beta, screenshot below). A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more