high weir

February 9, 2007

Pre-Pandemic Planning

Filed under: Uncategorized — jstreed1476 @ 4:23 am

Now here is something interesting to the son of an epidemiologist: the CDC’s new guide to pandemic mitigation. I saw it linked in Slate’s Survivalist column, which criticizes the CDC for measures that are either too mild or on the wrong track.

The CDC focuses on community-based, non-pharmacological ways to slow the spread of a pandemic. In dinner-table conversations on infection control that I’ve overheard since childhood, my dad has always stressed the challenge of integrating institutional, social, and pharmacological responses to disease. The CDC seems to put a great deal of emphasis on getting individuals to accept new roles within their workplaces, schools, communities, and even faith-based organizations. In this sense, their report, from my layperson’s perspective, appears to be a good start. David Shenk, the Slate columnist, is probably right in saying that without clear answers to the vaccine supply question, the CDC’s recommendations are less robust than is ideal. But as a citizen-level call to action, their preparations do seem worthy, especially given the fading memory of how disruptive things like polio were.

And oddly enough, I ran across all this stuff just one day before my employer, a community college, began circulating questionnaires about department-level responses to pandemics. Something’s in the wind, anyhow . . .

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