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

Irish squad training at Twickenham

first_imgDebutants Stuart McCloskey, Josh van der Flier and Ultan Dillane will take part in the traditional captain’s run.The third round of the Six Nations begins tonight in Cardiff as Wales play host to France at five-past eight.After their opening weekend draw against Ireland, Wales defeated Scotland in their second game while France have registered wins over Italy and Ireland so-far in this year’s championship. The Under-20’s Championship also begins tonight.Nigel Carolan’s Irish side travel to Newcastle to face their English counter-parts at five-past six.And the match-up between Italy and Scotland kicks-off just five minutes later.last_img

Lawyer representing former Cayman Island’s Premier files not guilty plea

first_imgThe lawyer representing Speaker of the House in the Cayman Islands and former Premier McKeeva Bush has filed a “not guilty” plea to an allegation of battery that led to the arrest of the politician earlier this week.Bush, 62, was arrested late Monday at a Seminole casino on the outskirts of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.According to police “Mr. Bush allegedly wrapped his arm around (a female casino employee’s) lower back and forcefully pulled the victim towards his direction.”The arresting officer said, “Bush grabbed her buttocks while pulling her with his right arm.”Cultural misunderstandingHowever, Bush’s lawyer Keith Seltzer, told Cayman 27 News that his client was innocent and that it was a cultural misunderstanding.Seltzer also expressed confidence that the case was unlikely to progress much further..“The defendant hereby enters a plea of not guilty, requests a trial by jury, hereby waives formal arraignment and requests 15 days for the filing of appropriate defensive motions,” the plea record states.One night spent in Broward jailFollowing his arrest, Bush spent one night in the Broward County jail. He was also subsequently released on a US$1,000 bond, but he has not been formally charged and travel restrictions have not been imposed.The news of Bush’s arrest and the publicity surrounding it locally and overseas has stirred concerns about his future role as speaker in the Cayman parliament, and a political leader.Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller says he believes Bush should now step down. He said he would be discussing the situation as it related to the future of Bush with the members of his opposition bench.last_img read more

Former NFL star Albert Haynesworth thanks potential kidney donors

first_imgFormer NFL All-Pro defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth is thanking the hundreds of potential kidney donors who have offered to help him.Haynesworth, who revealed July 10 that he needs a new kidney, had been hospitalized. But in an Instagram post Thursday, Haynesworth shared a photo showing him undergoing his first dialysis treatment outside the hospital. Dolphins’ Kendrick Norton being released from hospital two weeks after arm amputation, agent says “First and foremost I want to thank each and everyone that prayed and supported me during this new ordeal, you guys are amazing,” Haynesworth wrote. “I want to also say I love you guys that are willing to give me a kidney their are no words that can describe my feelings for this blessing.” ESPN reported that after Haynesworth shared his plight July 10, Vanderbilt University Medical Center received more than 1,000 calls the first day from people offering to be a donor. Haynesworth noted in his post that potential donors will be sent a blood test to see if they are compatible and that for “my new family member (donor),” insurance and grants will cover the cost of the transplant and time missed for work. View this post on Instagramcenter_img First and foremost I want to thank each and everyone that prayed and supported me during this new ordeal, you guys are amazing. I want to also say I love you guys that are willing to give me a kidney their are no words that can describe my feelings for this blessing. Now for the update today I started my first dialysis treatments outside the hospital. I’m feeling better than the previous post since the great hospital staff of Williamson Medical pulled more than 12lbs of fluid from in and around my lungs. Now for my new family (donors) Vanderbilt will be sending you blood test that you take to a lab then send it back to Vanderbilt. After that they will give you further instructions. Oh yes for my new family member (donor) that is picked your medical expenses will be covered under my insurance and for time missed for work their are grants that Vandy will direct you to so you can get a compensation for giving this precious gift to me. I don’t know the amount but I seriously doubt it will make you rich FYI.A post shared by Albert Haynesworth (@haynesworthiii) on Jul 18, 2019 at 11:11am PDTHaynesworth, 38, played 10 NFL seasons for the Titans, Redskins, Patriots and Buccaneers. Haynesworth said that dialysis treatments have drained more than 12 pounds of fluid from around his lungs. Related News Redskins’ Josh Norman says running with the bulls in Pamplona brought him ‘peace’ and ‘joy’last_img read more

Boy bitten by shark in Fort Lauderdale

first_imgAn 11-year-old boy is being hospitalized after a reported shark bite in Fort Lauderdale.According to reports, the incident occurred Wednesday morning while the boy vacationed with his family in the surf behind the Ritz Carlton Hotel on North Fort Lauderdale Beach.The boy injured his foot, according to Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue.He is currently receiving treatment at Broward Health Medical Center.This story is developing.last_img

Keansburg Celebrates 100 Years This Weekend

first_imgBy Rick Geffken |KEANSBURG – The borough will celebrate its centennial Oct. 6 to 8, with dozens of events at four different venues, culminating in a fireworks display on the beach Sunday night.Keansburg will be commemorating its past, as well as its spirit and resilience after the devastation of Super Storm Sandy in 2012.“The most important part of Keansburg is our community spirit, especially during emergencies,” said Edward Balyk, president of the Keansburg Historical Society, who moved to town 23 years ago from Matawan. “No matter what is thrown at us, we bounce back and rebuild.” Super Storm Sandy was just the latest in a long list of other natural disasters to hit Keansburg and the Bayshore. Once part of Middletown and Raritan Townships, Keansburg’s early residents were fishermen and farmers who endured too many storms and hurricanes to name.As it prepares to celebrate the 100th anniversary of what an old Monmouth County history book calls “the little village lying on the Bay Coast,” it’s interesting to note it has not always been known as Keansburg. Swartz is nostalgic about the late Doug Foulks who died recently at age 94. “He was one of our most respected citizens born in town. I used to sit with him in the Historical Museum for hours, listening to all his old stories about the town,” Swartz said. “I realize now that he was grooming me to pass on the history of Keansburg.” According to Swartz, the town was open all the time, with “lots of bars and nightlife,” he recalled. “The City of Keansburg steamboat would dock three times a day at the Keansburg pier, each trip bringing 3,000 people. They’d come for its beaches and the amusement park,” he said. “They had a band on the boat. People got off and went to a big dance hall on the waterfront. And the rides, of course.” KEANSBURG CENTENNIAL WEEKEND All parking, rides, activities and attractions are free all weekend. The event is open to the public and all nonresidents of Keansburg are welcome.Friday, Oct. 6Craft beer garden and food trucks from 5 to 9 p.m. with a concert from 6 to 9 p.m. featuring Jimmy Shoez & The Magooz at Baywalk East, Main Street and Beachway.Saturday, Oct. 7Father Time Free Family Fishing Derby from 8 to 11 a.m. at Keansburg Beach at Baywalk East.Old Truax Burial Ground Ecumenical Memorial Service at 9 a.m. at Leroy and Frederick Place. Forest Park Mini Carnival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Forest Avenue, featuring a petting zoo, pony rides, carnival games, a watermelon eating contest and music.Photos, arts and craft pop-ups from 1 to 8 p.m. at Friendship Park, located at Main Street and Frances Place.Keansburg Fire Department beer garden and concert at 5 p.m. featuring RB Express. Food will be available from local restaurants.Historical Museum Gifts and Souvenirs open from 1 to 7 p.m. at 59 Carr Ave.Michele DeRoche, Keansburg recreation coordinator, and Cliff Moore, the town’s economic community development coordinator, are overseeing the upcoming Keansburg Centennial Weekend celebrations.Sunday, Oct. 8St. John’s Field activities at St John’s Place will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with an Old Timers Baseball Game Show, activities in the outfield and a hot dog eating contest hosted by Kazia Rae’s Restaurant.A parade will take place at 3 p.m. starting at the Municipal Building where paraders will march across Church Street and down Main Street, ending at the 9/11 Memorial.Another mini carnival from 4 to 8 p.m. at Baywalk East located at Main Street and Beachway, along with a concert featuring the White Wedding Band and beer garden starting at 5 p.m.A Super 50/50 raffle drawing will be held at 6 p.m. Food will be available from local restaurants, and the Historical Museum Gift and Souvenirs will be open from 1 to 5 p.m.The weekend events will conclude Sunday evening with fireworks on the beach, sponsored by BCB Bank.Get updates on social media @centennialkeansburg, #keansburg100 #hbdkeansburg The famed City of Keansburg steamship made three roundtrips from New York to the bayside town every day for many years. Courtesy Borough of KeansburgSwartz is referring to the still-operating New Point Comfort Beach Company organized by William A. Gehlhaus in 1908. Gehlhaus bought steamboats and bayfront land, built streets, and opened the amusement park. A third generation descendent, Hank Gehlhaus, still operates the amusement park along the beachfront. The Lenape natives called it “Waackaack.” They were forced to give way to Dutch, English, and Scottish settlers starting in the 17th century. Europeans heard that place name as Waycake. Their descendants rechristened the location Point Comfort, Tanner’s Landing, Granville, and finally Keansburg when a post office was established there in 1884. The modern designation is a nod to New Jersey Rep. and Sen. John Kean, one of the founders. He was also the great uncle of former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean.John Swartz, vice president of the Historical Society, is working with the Centennial Parade Committee for the big weekend. He moved to town in 1947. “Growing up in the 1950s here it was such a small, quaint town. Seventy percent of the homes were summer bungalows.” This article was first published in Sept. 28 – Oct. 5, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.last_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