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".

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  • 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.

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Archive for the ‘Monson MA’ Category

Don’t Leave To Others What We Must Do For Ourselves

Posted by preparedcitizens on December 20, 2008

My town, my wonderful town, is really working hard at a disaster response plan. Jeremy Bedson presented his pre-disaster mitigation plan and it was tabled until May 2009. And for good reason. Our cities and towns are not capable of being our answer in a disaster of any magnitude. They can be of assistance, they can be a resource, but they cannot be our answer….and we cannot be their burden.

After years of thinking about this issue I ask myself what I expect from my town as far as “a response” is concerned. As a citizen of this town I expect an attempt at resilience. The town itself must not *fall* even though some of us will. I expect information, honesty, transparency, and a request for *my* assistance when it is needed. I do expect that those in town employ continue to do their job *as they are able*.

What I don’t expect from my town…care, feeding, clothing, shelter, security, medical care, or anything else that I know that I will have to do for myself in an extreme emergency where town employees themselves will be in danger. I recognize these things as blessings and not rights.

So call me crazy. I do appreciate every effort that this town is making on my behalf and on the behalf of every resident. Jeremy, Kathleen, Lorri, Judy, and others, are doing a stand up job and they should be applauded. But this resident and this residents family is not looking for support from or sustenance from a town who simply cannot provide it now or in the future.

What I *do* hope for in my dream of dreams…is that every resident of this town is aware of the dangers and risks and the need to seek their own solutions in order that they can mitigate their own problems ahead of time, the inabilities of the town to come to our aid in a disaster of any large magnitude, and the knowledge that our town’s resilience, may in the end, depend largely on all of us.

I pray for a happy and healthy New Year for us all.


Posted in Monson MA, Preparedness, Public Health | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Hunting Season and Migratory Birds and the Movement of Avian Influenza Viruses

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 28, 2008

Massachusetts Migratory Birds 2008-2009 Season Has Begun

It is important to note that of 500 samples collected since April 2008 – highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has not been detected in any of them.

Hunters and hikers can be our best eyes and ears on the ground.

Guidelines for Reporting Sick or Dying Birds

When three (3) or more sick, dying, or recently dead waterfowl (duck and geese), shorebirds (sandpipers, plovers), or other waterbirds (herons) are found at any single location they should be reported to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife’s Westboro Field Headquarters at 508/389-6300 or the USDA/APHIS-Wildlife Services MA/CT/RI Program at 413/253-2403. Agency staff will evaluate the situation and make arrangements for collecting the birds. Events involving other types of dead birds can be reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Information Line at 1-866-MASS-WNV.

More information and an FAQ publication on Avian Influenza (181 K, PDF) may be found at the Mass. Department of Public Health’s avian flu website.

Sportsmens Clubs — Order (or download) a poster "Help Find Avian Influenza" to post at your club facilities! This poster is target to the hunting community as part of a state and national monitoring and surveillance program. More information at the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services Website.

Resources: Massachusetts Migratory Game Bird Laws and Regulations

Massachusetts Hunting Season Dates

The USGS offers this guidance for reporting dead birds. From the report:

Guidance for Public Reporting of Wild Bird Die-offs
When contacted by the general public about finding dead birds, we suggest instructing them not to touch the carcass with their bare hands. If the animal must be moved for submission or disposal, the individual should use disposable gloves or an inverted plastic bag to pick up the dead animal, and wash their hands thoroughly afterwards. If the carcass is not being submitted for evaluation, we recommend that it be double-bagged and placed in a secure trash receptacle for routine garbage pickup. We also stress the importance of avoiding exposure of dead animals to children, pets, and other wildlife.

We recommend mentioning to the public that there are many causes of death for wild birds, that mortality events happen every year, and that there have been no documented cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in North America to date. The HPAI H5N1 virus does not easily infect people; nevertheless, all dead carcasses should be treated with care.

In determining whether or not to retrieve or accept carcasses, we recommend that you take into consideration the location of the event, species of birds involved, size of the event, and condition of the carcasses. When a decision is made not to accept or retrieve carcasses, thank the individual for their information and explain that the information is very useful to our monitoring effort, but that we are unable to collect and test all wild bird mortalities.

More Recommendations:
Thoroughly washing hands with soap and water (or with alcohol-based hand products if the hands are not visibly soiled) is a very effective method for inactivating influenza viruses, including HPAI. These viruses are also inactivated with many common disinfectants such as detergents, 10% household bleach, alcohol or other commercial disinfectants. The virus is more difficult to inactivate in organic material such as feces or soil.

The General Public should, as a general rule, observe wildlife, including wild birds, from a distance. This protects you from possible exposure to pathogens and minimizes disturbance to the animal.

  • Avoid touching wildlife. If there is contact with wildlife do not rub eyes, eat, drink, or smoke before washing hands with soap and water as described above.
  • Do not pick up diseased or dead wildlife. Contact your state, tribal or federal natural resource agency if a sick or dead animal is found.

Hunters should follow routine precautions when handling game.

  • Do not handle or eat sick game.
  • Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game, wash hands as described above, and thoroughly clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling animals.
  • All game should be thoroughly cooked (well done or 160o F).  Additional information can be found here.

Genetics Provide Evidence for the Movement of Avian Influenza Viruses from Asia to North America via Migratory Birds

Released: 10/27/2008 11:49:09 AM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192

Catherine Puckett – Phone: 352-264-3532
Dirk Derksen – Phone: 907-786-7061
John Pearce – Phone: 907-786-7094

Wild migratory birds may be more important carriers of avian influenza viruses from continent to continent than previously thought, according to new scientific research that has important implications for highly pathogenic avian influenza virus surveillance in North America.

As part of a multi-pronged research effort to understand the role of migratory birds in the transfer of avian influenza viruses between Asia and North America, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska and the University of Tokyo, have found genetic evidence for the movement of Asian forms of avian influenza to Alaska by northern pintail ducks.

In an article published this week in Molecular Ecology, USGS scientists observed that nearly half of the low pathogenic avian influenza viruses found in wild northern pintail ducks in Alaska contained at least one (of eight) gene segments that were more closely related to Asian than to North American strains of avian influenza.  

It was a highly pathogenic form of the H5N1 avian influenza virus that spread across Asia to Europe and Africa over the past decade, causing the deaths of 245 people and raising concerns of a possible human pandemic.  The role of migratory birds in moving the highly pathogenic virus to other geographic areas has been a subject of debate among scientists.  Disagreement has focused on how likely it is for H5N1 to disperse among continents via wild birds.

"Although some previous research has led to speculation that intercontinental transfer of avian influenza viruses from Asia to North America via wild birds is rare, this study challenges that," said Chris Franson, a research wildlife biologist with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and co-author of the study.  Franson added that most of the previous studies examined bird species that are not transcontinental migrants or were from mid-latitude locales in North America, regions far removed from sources of Asian strains of avian influenza.

Scientists with the USGS, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state agencies, and Alaska native communities, obtained samples from more than 1,400 northern pintails from locations throughout Alaska.  Samples containing viruses were then analyzed and compared to virus samples taken from other birds in North America and Eastern Asia where northern pintails are known to winter.  Researchers chose northern pintails as the focus of the study because they are fairly common in North America and Asia, they are frequently infected by low pathogenic avian influenza, and they are known to migrate between North America and Asia.  None of the samples were found to contain completely Asian-origin viruses and none were highly pathogenic.

"This kind of genetic analysis – using the low pathogenic strains of avian influenza virus commonly found in wild birds – can answer questions not only about the migratory movements of wild birds, but the degree of virus exchange that takes place between continents, provided the right species and geographic locations are sampled," said John Pearce, a research wildlife biologist with the USGS Alaska Science Center and co-author of the study. "Furthermore, this research validates our current surveillance sampling process for highly pathogenic avian influenza in Alaska and demonstrates that genetic analysis can be used as an effective tool to further refine surveillance plans across North America, Pearce added.

Website for USGS northern pintail avian influenza research:

Implications of the Research:

  • Migratory bird species, including many waterfowl and shorebirds, that frequently carry low pathogenic avian influenza and migrate between continents may carry Asian strains of the virus along their migratory pathways to North America.
  • USGS researchers found that nearly half of influenza viruses isolated from northern pintail ducks in Alaska contained at least one of eight virus genes that were more closely related to Asian than North American strains.  None of the samples contained completely Asian-origin viruses and none were highly pathogenic forms that have caused deaths of domestic poultry and humans.
  • The central location of Alaska in relation to Asian and North American migratory flyways may explain the higher frequency of Asian lineages observed in this study in comparison to more southerly locations in North America.  Thus, continued surveillance for highly pathogenic viruses via sampling of wild birds in Alaska is warranted.

Future surveillance for avian influenza in wild birds should include the type of genetic analyses used in this study to better understand patterns of migratory connectivity between Asia and North America and virus ecology.

click for larger image; see caption for details

A male Northern Pintail duck in Japan.

Photo courtesy of the USGS

click for larger image; see caption for details

Dr. Hiroyoshi Higuchi (left), Mr. Ken-ichi Tokita (right), and other cooperators from the University of Tokyo, work with USGS scientists to attach a satellite transmitter to the backs of Northern Pintail Ducks on wintering areas of Northern Honshu, Japan. Transmitters are used to evaluate their movements, migration, and areas of overlap with North American Northern Pintails.

Photo courtesy of USGS

click for larger image; see caption for details

A flock of wintering northern pintail ducks takes flight in Northern Honshu, Japan. Photo courtesy of USGS

click for larger image; see caption for details

A flock of wintering northern pintail ducks in Northern Honshu, Japan.

Photo courtesy of USGS

click for larger image; see caption for details

A resident of Iwate Prefecture feeds a wintering flock of northern pintail ducks and Whooper Swans in Northern Honshu, Japan. In spring of 2008, both of these species occurred on wetlands in Japan where the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza was detected and several swans died from exposure to the virus.

Photo courtesy of USGS

Posted in Monson MA, Public Health, Public Safety | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Love Out Loud with the Nomads of Hope

Posted by preparedcitizens on October 12, 2008

“Follow Your Heart – Change the World”

To love out loud is one of the greatest privileges that we have in life. And it is one of the biggest risks that we take.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put a hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain:
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea

~Isaiah 11:6, 8-9

As I listened today to the words of young Sarah Lyon I was reminded of how when we step out of our comfort zone and take risks we grow in grace and love. I was amazed by the grace within this young woman whose talent with language and her heart of gold had opened up my own heart to a world of possibilities. I was led by this young woman today.

“God sightings”

My heart swells when I see the Christ’s cross not being used as a weapon but as a the message of love written in blood that it was intended to be. And today, hearing how the Holy Spirit opened doors while this group waged peace in their many missions invigorated and excited me.

The “Nomads of Hope” are a small group of youths and adults from Monson MA who have traveled to Wakpala, South Dakota, Newark, New York and Gosmo Sur, Ecuador. Their activities range from outright major building projects to household chores or “cleaning buses”. This is not a large missionary group but a handful of humble people from a very small town who are taking risks and rising to challenges. They are a God sighting for me.

They are also a reminder to me to never look at the impossibilities in life, dream of the impossible and then make plans to make it possible. Pray for the strength to do and then go out and do it. When we are working within the will of God, He will bless our efforts. He will open doors.

“We are in our Father’s house” and we are his people. We are his hosts and hostesses, his representatives, his ambassadors. As any good ambassador knows, one is not representing themselves but his employer. The Nomads of Hope are wonderful ambassadors to the world.

It is days like this that I am so very proud to be from the small town of Monson, MA. I hope and pray that many more join them in their efforts to wage peace in the world and be ambassadors of change, and ambassadors of hope.

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