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J Infect Dis. 2006 Nov 1;194 Suppl 2:S65-9.

Seasonal and pandemic influenza preparedness: a global threat.

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  • 1Departments of Pediatrics, Microbiology, Medicine, and Neurosurgery and Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infections, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, 35233-1711, USA.


The increase in the incidence of avian influenza worldwide in both poultry and humans introduces the potential for another influenza A pandemic that could pose a significant threat to both human health and the global economy. The impact of the next influenza pandemic will be influenced, in part, by how well the medical, government, business, and lay communities are prepared. Despite the additional tools and resources that have become available since prior epidemics, there are limits to the quantity of antiviral drugs that can be manufactured and concerns over the current vaccine production systems. Despite these challenges, there is an opportunity to take action before the emergence of a pandemic influenza strain and, possibly, to prevent its spread or at least mitigate its impact on the world. In February 2006, a group of representatives from federal, state, and local governments; professional bodies; academia; and the pharmaceutical industry met to review the current state of preparedness in the United States for a potential influenza pandemic and its relationship to seasonal influenza. The goal of the meeting was to examine the recently revised US Department of Health and Human Services plan for preparedness and response to an influenza pandemic and to make recommendations to actualize this plan at the state and local levels.

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