Monday, April 27, 2009

CDC's Daily Briefing: Emphasizes Need for Community Mitigation Measures & Individual Responsibility

In the daily briefing today, CDC's Acting Director, Dr. Richard Besser, emphasized the evolving nature of the H1N1 swine flu situation and that communities and individuals should look to their pandemic preparedness plans and think about what they would do if this situation escalates to a pandemic. He further emphasize the refined guidelines on community mitigation measures and that everyone should understand what is recommended and expected of individuals to protect themselves and their families from getting sick.

"I don't know the odds of somebody in Atlanta has this infection. But it's important that people in Atlanta, and people in Dallas, and people in Philadelphia, and people in small towns know about this, that they pay attention. That they understand that they have a responsibility here in terms of protecting themselves and also knowing what the signs and symptoms are and what they should do if they're ill," Besser said.

Besser said that the key, critical epidemiological question at this point is why cases are more severe in Mexico and less so everywhere else. "As we continue to look I expect we will see additional cases and that the spectrum of disease (severity) will expand" Besser said. He also noted that while the origins of this virus are in swine, the virus has mutated at this point and people are susceptible to the virus even if they have no contact with pigs. Further, you cannot get this virus by eating well-cooked pork products.

Travel advisory change:
CDC also noted that they will be issuing a revised travel advisory later this evening (still not posted as of 5:30pm EDT) asking individuals to post-pone non-essential travel to Mexico at this time, out of an an abundance of caution.

Declaration of Public Health Emergency (PHE) and CDC Public Health Response:
The declaration of a PHE has allowed CDC to forward deploy antivirals and diagnostic testing equipment from the strategic national stockpile to select, high-risk states (primarily those currently experiencing outbreaks). So far, about 25% of the materials in the SNS earmarked for pandemic response have been forward deployed for possible use if necessary.

CDC is also gathering "seed stock" of the current strain of H1N1 causing illness for possibly using to begin manufacturing a vaccine if considered necessary in the following weeks.

CDC's information for individuals about signs, symptoms, and protective measures for swine flu:

CDC's Community Mitigation Measures Guidance:

CDC's April 27 Briefing Transcript:

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