Sunday, October 02, 2005

Important idea for local planners

The Editors of the Flu Wiki received the following communication from Dr. Jody Lanard. As many of you know, her writings with Peter Sandman are a seminal source for how to communicate matters of public health importance.

The idea presented here makes good sense: recruit those who have acquired immunity through natural infection during the course of an outbreak.

Here is the important proviso: to do this in an efficient and timely way you have to plan in advance to identify and locate these individuals! These procedures can be done locally, for example on a hospital or nursing home staff basis.
To the Editors of the FluWiki:

Several of your contributors have contacted me about your plans for Pandemic Awareness Week, particularly about your efforts to involve properly-trained volunteers.

I would like to call your attention to this excerpt from the World Health Organization's Checklist for Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Planning, Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response, Global Influenza Program, 2005. (The rest of the checklist may be useful for your efforts as well):

"Consider how recovered cases, who are presumably immune to the new virus, can be identified by occupation (for example, health-care workers or workers in designated essential services), in order to facilitate the development of a resource of workers presumed to be immune."

All the best,

Jody Lanard M.D.
Senior adviser, pandemic communication
Communicable Diseases Section
World Health Organization
Avenue Appia, 20
Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: 41 22 791 3576