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H1N1 (Swine Flu): Looking for pandemic exercise ideas?

July 8, 2009

Look no further – Don’t let the title turn you off

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) just released a plan to help hospitals, emergency departments, first responders, and public health departments manage a surge in pandemic flu cases that many experts predict will happen this fall. Don’t let the organization or the intended audience dissuade you from picking this up… it is packed with lots interesting information…

ACEPH 2009_cover

Comparing to the last centuries pandemics

The document entitled, National Strategic Plan for Emergency Department Management of Outbreaks of Novel H1N1 Influenza (whew!) takes a broad view.  In the risk awareness section it compares our current novel H1N1 with the viruses of the last three pandemics in the last century. “If the virus follows the pandemic patterns of the 20th century, health care providers should prepare for the potential of higher level of virulence in the fall wave, which occurred in both 1918 and 1957. Patterns would suggest cases could appear in early fall and will be occurring well into the normal seasonal flu months. If this occurs, the population will not have had available vaccine, and similar patterns of infection are expected, with higher prevalence in children and young adults.”

The document is divided into two main sections:

  • Risk Awareness Threat
    • Vulnerability
    • Response to the Threat
  • Management Strategy
    • Scenario (really helpful for crafting a tabletop exercise)
    • Planning Assumptions (helpful for revising your plan)
    • Capabilities for Emergency Department Response to a Severe H1N1 Outbreak (very detailed list that although it is aimed at hospitals, could be easily tweaked for business)

The risk section is filled with lots of good background data.  The scenario is well-crafted, to the point and aims at a 1957 type event.  Well worth a read!

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