Will Routine Annual Influenza Prevention and Control Systems Serve the United States Well in a Pandemic?

Published In: Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, v. 3, Suppl. 2, Dec. 2009, p. S160-S165

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Jeanne S. Ringel, Melinda Moore, John A. Zambrano, Nicole Lurie

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OBJECTIVE: To assess the extent to which the systems in place for prevention and control of routine annual influenza could provide the information and experience needed to manage a pandemic. METHODS: The authors conducted a qualitative assessment based on key informant interviews and the review of relevant documents. RESULTS: Although there are a number of systems in place that would likely serve the United States well in a pandemic, much of the information and experience needed to manage a pandemic optimally is not available. CONCLUSIONS: Systems in place for routine annual influenza prevention and control are necessary but not sufficient for managing a pandemic, nor are they used to their full potential for pandemic preparedness. Pandemic preparedness can be strengthened by building more explicitly upon routine influenza activities and the public health system's response to the unique challenges that arise each influenza season (eg, vaccine supply issues, higher than normal rates of influenza-related deaths).

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