June 12, 2009 | | Comments 0
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With a pandemic underway, watch the southern hemisphere for H1N1 clues

Hi folks, it’s Scott Wallask. My goodness, after all these years I never imagined that the official announcement of a flu pandemic from the World Health Organization (WHO) would be met with such little fanfare. I always figured such a proclamation would result in sirens ringing throughout towns and people hunkering down in their homes.

Nope. To be fair, in practical terms the issuance of a WHO pandemic warning probably isn’t going to change the approach hospitals have already taken in preparing for H1N1 swine flu outbreaks.

Also, people in the southern hemisphere, who live the seasons opposite of us here in the northern hemisphere, are in the midst of the flu season now. Health officials are watching how H1N1 progresses south of the equator, as it may be a harbinger of things to come in our flu season.

I remember Joe Cappiello, chair of Cappiello & Associates in Elmurst, IL, encouraging healthcare emergency planners at our 3rd Annual Hospital Safety Center Symposium in May to closely monitor what happens in the southern hemisphere.

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Filed Under: CDC/infection controlEmergency management

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Scott Wallask About the Author: Scott Wallask is senior managing editor for HCPro's Hospital Safety Center (www.hospitalsafetycenter.com) and the award-winning newsletters, Briefings on Hospital Safety and Healthcare Life Safety Compliance. He has written about healthcare for HCPro since 1998, with a focus on occupational and building safety, emergency management, fire protection, and infection control. Prior to joining HCPro, he worked as a reporter for several newspapers in eastern Massachusetts. He holds a BA in print journalism, magna cum laude, from Northeastern University in Boston. Contact Scott at swallask@hcpro.com.

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