Influenza Pandemic Preparedness in the Public Health Sector: How to Improve on Existing Pandemic Preparedness Plans of the Medical Community
Influenza is a viral infection with the potential to infect millions worldwide. In the case of such a pandemic outbreak, direct patient interaction is handled by the medical community, composed of hospitals, medical professionals, and the policies that regulate them. The medical community is responsible not only for treating infected individuals, but preventing the spread of influenza to healthy individuals. Given this responsibility, the medical community has drafted preparedness plans laying down guidelines for action in the case of an influenza pandemic. This project reviewed these preparedness plans for hospitals in Arizona as well as reviewing the literature produced by the Department of Health and Human Services to guide these plans. The review revealed that the medical community is woefully unprepared to handle the number of infected individuals, projected to be close to 90 million. Plans are disorganized, outdated, and nonexistent. The conclusions of this thesis offer suggestions for pandemic policy improvement.