Friday, October 07, 2005
Romania Reports Bird Flu (in birds)
Dow Jones reports that Romania has banned hunting wild birds.
In the meantime, there is some advance word up in CurEvents.com about key assumptions for the US Pandemic Plan. The mortality rate is just a guess (as good as any other), but the predicted illness rate is alarming:
* 25 - 30% illness (20% - 30% in working age group), plus additional absenteeism for care-givingImagine what would happen if 25% of your employees were sick for a week and another 10% were out taking care of sick children, etc.
* Outbreak period in a community of 6 to 8 weeks per wave, with possibly more than one wave in a community
* Length of illlness of an uncomplicated case, 5 days
* Hospitalization rate of 1 - 10% of those who are ill
* Mortality rate of .1 - 1%
As it stands, current licensing restrictions limit the ability of the local health system to employ health care volunteers. Its just one of the issues states have to face--further, hospital licensing restrictions usually require certificates of need to expand ICU facilities or add hospital beds--Not going to have time to do that when the flu hits the fan. So one shortfall is really the careful study of how to surge the system within existing law.
Keep up the good work!
The point about the licensing restrictions is a good one! It reminds me of the licensing issues for volunteer doctors in LA.
Don't you think there need to be special exceptions in law for a possible pandemic? I would think also some healthcare units would need exemptions for insurance liability purposes.
Based on 1918 numbers, the potential deaths numer 150 million, worldwide.
Don't look to a huge response from the medical community. They're going to be duct taped in at home, like the rest of us.
They have families, too, as one MD told me last week.
Ampligen (R) Enhances the Effectiveness of Tamiflu Against Avian Influenza
we will have an acute shortage of qualified Health care providers.
Existing systoms must be capable of providing personnel to staff patient care needs.
Regretably, many of the emergency response departments in our fragmented federal system are run by elected law enforcement folks who neither understand public health issues or view the public as a resource rather than a threat.
There are two old jokes among public health folks: when you have seen one public health jurisidiction, you have seen one public health jurisidiction/
Unfortunately, the same aphoroism applies to county level emergency management operations.
All of this suggests that any response to a pandemic will be local---and spotty.
NOT a pretty picture. I wish I could reassure our citizens we are prepared--some jurisdictions are, others are not. It will make Katrina look like a very simple exercise.
many of the emergency response departments in our fragmented federal system are run by elected law enforcement folks who neither understand public health issues or view the public as a resource rather than a threat.
That's it in a nutshell. That mindset can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if we let it. It doesn't have to work out that way. I think most healthcare personnel will rise to the occasion. The public will if they are told how they can deal with the risks.
The thing is, cutting down the rate of contagion is key to allowing healthcare personnel to be effective. They are a limited resource. Other steps - establishing emergency medical overflow centers, etc, will also help, but the bottom line is lowering infection rates. And that is not impossible, but it takes some preparation and training. It requires changing our daily routines and we humans are creatures of habit.
SC&A, as long as doctors can do some good they will be out there doing it. If they find themselves unable to cope, out of supplies, etc they will conclude they can do no good.
But masking, gowning and gloving are steps that will prevent doctors from getting ill. It will take an adjustment on the part of the patients, but it will work.
If you want a pretty safe investment bet, research medical supply houses. They will be doing a roaring business over the next year and a half.
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