200402 Pandemic Influenza - What is it? What can we do to prepare

Monday, November 9, 2009: 8:30 AM

Elizabeth A. Macias, PhD , Epidemiology Laboratory Service, U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks City-Base, TX
The influenza pandemic threat looms from the unprecedented outbreak of highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. How concerned should we be? Is there anything that our laboratories can do to help detect and help to prevent the spread of pandemic influenza strains? The DoD Global Influenza Surveillance Program at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) has been tracking viral respiratory disease within the military community for 30 years. As part of the Department of Defense Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (DoD-GEIS), USAFSAM conducts sentinel surveillance in 43 countries worldwide. This presentation will provide an overview of surveillance activities and the importance of laboratory participation in this larger public health mission. Specimen handling, shipping methodologies, and testing will be discussed. It is difficult to predict when the next influenza pandemic will occur or how severe it will be. Wherever and whenever a pandemic starts, everyone around the world is at risk. Preparedness and planning at the installation level remains the first-line of defense against this looming threat.

Learning Objectives:
Define an influenza pandemic and understand the role of Avian Influenza. Discuss the role and benefits of the DoD Influenza Surveillance Program. Describe how to collect respiratory specimens for viral culture and how to get them to the laboratory. 3.

Keywords: Infectious Diseases, Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Ph.D. in Microbiology, Ohio University, 1990; Postdoctoral Fellowship in Medical and Public Health Laboratory Microbiology, University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX, 1991-1993; Laboratory Director, Esoterix Infectious Disease Center, San Antonio, TX, 1991-2001; Laboratory Director, USAFSAM Epidemiology Laboratory Service, 2001-present.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.