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Monday, September 6, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Primer on Pandemics

Given the unpredictable behavior of influenza viruses and other diseases, neither the timing nor the severity of the next pandemic can be predicted with any certainty. In detecting a new pandemic virus, continuous global surveillance of influenza and diseases are key to the early detection of a virus with pandemic potential and the protection protocols Urban Survivalists will need to take.

There is a network of more than 120 National Influenza Centres in over 90 countries that monitor disease and influenza activity and isolate viruses in every region of the world. National Influenza and Communicable Disease Control Centers report the detection of an “unusual” viruses immediately to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Influenza and Disease Control Programs and one of the five WHO Collaborating Centers. Rapid detection of unusual virus outbreaks, isolation of viruses with pandemic potential and immediate alert to WHO by national authorities is critical to a timely and efficient response.

After the scares of the H1NI and H5N1 virus this past year, which turned out to be much ado about nothing, many people think the threat is minimal. This does not mean we can dismiss this threat. We have just not seen the radically mutated viruses that we have seen in the past century. But we have also seen over and over the in-ability of the Government to respond quickly and effectively. And given the Government's vast resources and communications capability you would think it would be better. This just means that we have to responsible for our own protection. And that begins with information.

We need to be able to identify the threats and keep visibility on the spread of the viruses, symptoms and recommended Rx treatment plans, and to collate that information into your Survival Plan, be it a Bug Out Plan and/or protocols for contact with other people outside of our Survival Group. Remember, that operations planned in an information/intelligence vaccuum have a much lower chance of success.

Urban Survialists must also have the ability to protect themselves from potential pandemic threats, using sepearation from potential threats; disinfecting, sterilization, treatment and even quarantining protocols. With the community and national medical response capability tanking after a sudden collapse, disease will be rampant. Escalated by the probable mobility of large groups of people seeking safety, food and water,...the chances of an Urban Survival Group encountering infected people will be great.

As the Pandemic situation unfolds either as a catalyst for a collapse or certainly becoming a fact after a sudden economic collapse and resulting anarchy, the Suvivalist needs to understand the Medical and Health doctrine for Pandemics in order to parlay that information into the courses of action for otheir Survival Plans. When you are watching or listing to Public Service announcements via the TV or radio, or getting your information via the shortwave, be aware of the Pandemic Phases descriptions:

Phase 1 no viruses circulating among animals have been reported to cause infections in humans.

In Phase 2 an animal influenza virus circulating among domesticated or wild animals is known to have caused infection in humans, and is therefore considered a potential pandemic threat.

In Phase 3, an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus has caused sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in people, but has not resulted in human-to-human transmission sufficient to sustain community level outbreaks. Limited human-to-human transmission may occur under some circumstances, for example, when there is close contact between an infected person and an unprotected caregiver. However, limited transmission under such restricted circumstances does not indicate that
the virus has gained the level of transmissibility among humans necessary to cause a pandemic.

Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion.

Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization,
communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way. During the post-peak period, pandemic disease levels in most countries with adequate surveillance will have dropped below peak observed levels. The post-peak period signifies that pandemic activity appears to be decreasing; however, it is uncertain if additional waves will occur and countries will need to be prepared for a second wave.

Previous pandemics have been characterized by waves of activity spread over months. Once the level of disease activity drops, a critical communications task will be to balance this information with the
possibility of another wave. Pandemic waves can be separated by months and an immediate “at-ease” signal may be premature.

In the post-pandemic period, influenza disease activity will have returned to levels normally seen for seasonal influenza. It is expected that the pandemic virus will behave as a seasonal influenza A virus. At this stage, it is important to maintain surveillance and update pandemic preparedness and response plans accordingly. An intensive phase of recovery and evaluation may be required.

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