Hospitals prepare for swine flu outbreak

Emergency Management Alert, April 28, 2009

After cases of swine flu in Mexico and the U.S. became more prevalent over the weekend, civilian and military stockpiles of antiviral drugs to combat transmission are being prepared for rapid distribution. If the disease reaches the point of pandemic status steps could include restricted travel, actively screening travelers for symptoms, quarantining the sick, closing schools, or banning public gatherings. Meanwhile, the CDC has released a number of recommendations for patients and healthcare workers to protect against transmission.

On Sunday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency.

The infections in Mexico are suspected of causing as many as 103 deaths and 1,600 illnesses, according to the Washington Post. As of Sunday night there were 20 confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S.

A report from the World Health Organization has called for increased surveillance, while the European Union’s health commissioner urged Europeans to avoid travel to the United States or Mexico, according to the New York Times. CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser called the advisory unwarranted.

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