Prepared Citizens

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • Previous Posts

  • Michael Osterholm Quotes:

    “What we need to be doing now is the basic planning of how we get our communities through 12 to 18 months of a pandemic.”

    “Ninety-five out of 100 will live. But with the nation in crisis, will we have food and water? Are we going to have police and security? Will people come to work at all?”

    “It's the perfect setup. Then you put air travel in and it could be around the world overnight.”

    “We can predict now 12 to 18 months of stress of watching loved ones die, of wondering if you are going to have food on the table the next day. Those are all things that are going to mean that we are going to have to plan -- unlike any other crisis that we have had in literally the last 80-some years in this country.”

  • US Health and Human Services

    Secretary Michael Leavitt

    "If there is one message on pandemic preparedness that I could leave today that you would remember, it would be this:

    Any community that fails to prepare with the expectation that the federal government or for that matter the state government will be able to step forward and come to their rescue at the final hour will be tragically wrong,

    not because government will lack a will, not because we lack a collective wallet, but because there is no way that you can respond to every hometown in America at the same time."
  • Joseph C. Napoli, MD of Resiliency LLC

    "I think a new meaning is evolving for resiliency and resilience.

    In some contexts the words are being used to mean the strength to resist being impacted by an adverse event rather than either the “capacity to rebound” or “act of rebounding” from adversity.

    Therefore, resiliency and resilience appear to be assuming the meaning of fortitude, that is, “the strength or firmness of mind that enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage or to bear pain or adversity without despondency” as defined in the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.

    If so, we are coming full circle with science accepting a religious moral virtue – fortitude – as written in the Bible’s Book of Wisdom"

  • Faith Based Resources

    John Piper
    Jonathan Edwards
    Pink-Saving Faith
    Pink-Christian Ethics

    "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves"
    (2 Corinthians 13:5).

    Why Faith Groups Must Care

    When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper


    Be Not Afraid
    Overcoming the fear of Death
    by Johann Christoph Arnold

    While I am not a professional journalist, I do embrace the code of ethics put forth by the Society of Professional Journalists and the statement of purpose by the Association of Health Care Journalists and above all else I strive to "do no harm".

  • Recent Comments

    preparedcitizens on Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH…
    bryansail33 on Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH…
    preparedcitizens on Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH…
    bryan on Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH…
    Catherine Mitchell on What Are You Throwing Awa…
  • Definitions

    from Wikipedia

    Pandemic Influenza

    An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of the influenza virus that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population.

    In contrast to the regular seasonal epidemics of influenza, these pandemics occur irregularly, with the 1918 Spanish flu the most serious pandemic in recent history.

    Pandemics can cause high levels of mortality, with the Spanish influenza being responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people.

    There have been about 3 influenza pandemics in each century for the last 300 years. The most recent ones were the Asian Flu in 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.

    Seasonal Influenza

    Flu season is the portion of the year in which there is a regular outbreak in flu cases.

    It occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere.

    Flu activity can sometimes be predicted and even tracked geographically. While the beginning of major flu activity in each season varies by location, in any specific location these minor epidemics usually take about 3 weeks to peak and another 3 weeks to significantly diminish.

    Individual cases of the flu however, usually only last a few days. In some countries such as Japan and China, infected persons sometimes wear a surgical mask out of respect for others.

    Avian (Bird) Flu
    Avian influenza,

    sometimes Avian flu, and commonly Bird flu refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds."

    "Bird flu" is a phrase similar to "Swine flu", "Dog flu", "Horse flu", or "Human flu" in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host.

    All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species: Influenza A virus.

    All subtypes (but not all strains of all subtypes) of Influenza A virus are adapted to birds, which is why for many purposes avian flu virus is the Influenza A virus (note that the "A" does not stand for "avian").
    Adaptation is non-exclusive.

    Being adapted towards a particular species does not preclude adaptations, or partial adaptations, towards infecting different species.

    In this way strains of influenza viruses are adapted to multiple species, though may be preferential towards a particular host.

    For example, viruses responsible for influenza pandemics are adapted to both humans and birds.

    Recent influenza research into the genes of the Spanish Flu virus shows it to have genes adapted to both birds and humans; with more of its genes from birds than less deadly later pandemic strains.

    H5N1 Strain

    Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as A(H5N1) or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the Influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species.

    A bird-adapted strain of H5N1, called HPAI A(H5N1) for "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1", is the causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as "avian influenza" or "bird flu".

    It is enzootic in many bird populations, especially in Southeast Asia. One strain of HPAI A(H5N1) is spreading globally after first appearing in Asia.

    It is epizootic (an epidemic in nonhumans) and panzootic (affecting animals of many species, especially over a wide area), killing tens of millions of birds and spurring the culling of hundreds of millions of others to stem its spread.

    Most references to "bird flu" and H5N1 in the popular media refer to this strain.

    As of the July 25, 2008 FAO Avian Influenza Disease Emergency Situation Update, H5N1 pathogenicity is continuing to gradually rise in wild birds in endemic areas but the avian influenza disease situation in farmed birds is being held in check by vaccination.

    Eleven outbreaks of H5N1 were reported worldwide in June 2008 in five countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam) compared to 65 outbreaks in June 2006 and 55 in June 2007.

    The "global HPAI situation can be said to have improved markedly in the first half of 2008 [but] cases of HPAI are still underestimated and underreported in many countries because of limitations in country disease surveillance systems".

    Pandemic Severity Index

    The Pandemic Severity Index (PSI) is a proposed classification scale for reporting the severity of influenza pandemics in the United States.

    The PSI was accompanied by a set of guidelines intended to help communicate appropriate actions for communities to follow in potential pandemic situations. [1]

    Released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 1, 2007, the PSI was designed to resemble the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

    From the Massachusetts Health and Human Services


    refers to separating people who are ill from other people to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.


    refers to separating and restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a communicable disease and are not yet ill.
  • Additional Information

    Creative Commons License
    Prepared Citizens by Catherine "Jackie" Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
    Based on a work at

    The posts on this site are subject to change. Mostly due to errors in spelling or grammar. I never said I am a professional journalist. I have new appreciation for the job that they do. Also, not all comments made by others will make it onto this site. Comments that advertise a commercial product do not get posted most of the time.

    View blog top tags
  • standingfirm

A Bad Flu Season

Posted by preparedcitizens on February 13, 2008

Mike at AvianFluDiary reminded me; “If a pandemic occurs (still an `if’),” we are still in the “if” stage, although it really isn’t “if” it is when and when seems to be coming sooner than we will be ready.

We read headlines every day that, quite frankly, become downright confusing. MRSA, children and healthy young adults dying of the flu….how are we to really know when a pandemic has started? My thought is that if it is mild, it may look like a bad seasonal flu season. If we have a higher category pandemic then the start of the pandemic will be much more obvious.

So, when should we start to take precautions?

People throughout the world who know that there is a pandemic coming at some point are asking themselves the same thing.

I maintain that since preparedness is “learned behavior”, the time to have a measured response is now, during our seasonal flu season. Not that practicing some of these measures now means that a pandemic has begun, just that it is a prudent to practice some of our mitigation strategies now.

Flu Seasons…

Australia’s flu season is opposite ours. They experience their winter flu season during our summer months. Here is a description of what occured during Australia’s epidemics of seasonal influenza this past summer so an early preview for ours.

Influenza activity in the southern hemisphere: a preliminary look at the winter 2007 season
Content excerpted from
There have been a few unusual and widely reported influenza cases in some parts of the southern hemisphere this [2007] season. In Australia, several states have reported a higher number of cases this winter, with Queensland and New South Wales particularly affected. 6 children under the age of 5 who contracted influenza A this year have died; the cases were in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. The predominant strain circulating in Australia is A(H3N2), although A(H1N1) has also been seen widely in some states. The country has only experienced low levels of influenza B activity this season. In contrast, Chile has had a rise in cases from last year [2006], but not as many as in 2004; incidence has also been falling since week 28. The regular vaccination campaign there targeting the elderly, those with chronic diseases, public health workers, pregnant women, infants and workers in the avian industry was launched in Mar 2007; 3.2 million doses were given. H3N2 has been the predominant strain in Chile this season [2007].

In equatorial regions (where influenza is less seasonal), the experience was also unexceptional. In China, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, the predominant strain this season [2007] has been A (H3N2), with A(H1N1) and B also present. According to the WHO’s summary of seasonal influenza activity in the world, last updated in March 2007, Hong Kong saw a high level of A(H3N2) activity in weeks 8-11. In contrast to Australia, New Zealand has been having a relatively mild influenza season in 2007 so far, with a mix of A(H1N1), A(H3N2) and some B viruses circulating.

In summary, therefore, apart from the unusual cases in children in Australia, the 2007 influenza season in the southern hemisphere has not been exceptional, either in the number of cases being reported or the strains circulating. Those strains that have been seen were also seen in the northern hemisphere in its last season [2006], and most of them are included in the current vaccine for the southern hemisphere this season. As was seen in the northern hemisphere’s 2006/07 season, A(H3N2) strains in the southern hemisphere have not reacted well to antiserum A/Wisconsin/67/2005.
(Promed 8/26/07)

The newshounds Candles and Tamarin, and the anecdotes from the UK provided by Chacal over at P4P are an excellent resource. What we seem to be experiencing now is a bad seasonal flu season like Australia and others had.

Here are the headlines that the newshounds have found:

New flu strain noted as 11 states report outbreaks; one death reported

NEW BUG EMERGES: Australian strain not included in vaccine.


4-year-old Junction boy dies from flu

and yet another child

Late Flu Season Deadly In Mississippi  

My heart goes out to the families of those who have died. Losing a child must be one of the hardest things for a parent to bear. Now, I am being a mother hen with my own.

When we read stories like this we should seize the opportunity to teach. Teach our kids how to be a bit safer now AND this will also educate toward the future. In our communities, close schools early when there are epidemics in town. Explain now to parents about why we close schools for flu now. Take the opportunity to explain why we also keep stocked pantries….when there is illness in the home, we should all stay in, even if not actively ill. Don’t expose others—asymptomatic carriers spread illness.

This should also be a time when local boards of health begin to monitor what outbreaks are occuring within the community. Keep in touch with the school nurses and encourage families to call in—even anonymously. Keep the pulse of your community. Families with illness should also be checked on occasionally. Enlist the assistance of faith based and existing outreach groups. If people can’t go out food may be running short. A quick shopping trip could be done for them. Keep safe while doing so. Our local communities are our strength. May we have many more flu seasons to get this right before we face a pandemic.

Social distancing during local epidemics,

frequent and thorough handwashing,

Keep fingers out of eyes, ears, nose and mouth.

(wipe down that cell phone – avoid “sneezed on-coughed on-sweated on” surfaces)

Early school closure,

Keep sick employees home!

A bad flu season is not something to shrug our shoulders at!

Practice increases awareness, most of all it will help keep you and your family safe(r).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s