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Mil Med. 2002 Nov;167(11):929-33.

Influenza outbreak and response preparedness in the Air National Guard.

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Maryland Air National Guard, 175th Medical Squadron, Baltimore, MD 21220, USA.


A 1997 influenza outbreak with a high case fatality rate reminded public health officials of the serious nature of this disease. Civilian authorities worldwide have initiated planning in preparation for another pandemic, possibly of the magnitude observed in 1918. Military agencies have also begun pandemic preparation. However, planning for influenza outbreaks in the Air National Guard (ANG) has not received a high priority. Through interviews and document reviews, we examined the current policies and procedures of the ANG in relation to influenza surveillance, outbreak response, vaccination, and use of antiviral drugs. Deployment and demographic data were studied and indicated ANG populations were at risk for infection with and dissemination of novel influenza strains. Pandemic planning in the ANG must be given a higher priority, to include initiating laboratory-based surveillance, enhancing communication and coordination with other public health authorities, and considering the potential use of antiviral drugs.

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