Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This week in pandemic flu, emerging infectious disease

Pandemic flu and emerging infectious disease are a serious issue around the globe, according to news headlines reported this week by APHA’s Get Ready News Twitter.

Among the week’s highlights:
* South Africa tests first new TB vaccine in 80 years
* 35 dead of dengue in Vietnam, nearly 33,000 cases
* New bird flu outbreak in Southern Burma
* Bird flu strikes farm in Manipur, Northeast India
* Bird flu reemerges in Vietnam province

For links to these and dozens of other news stories and resources, visit the Get Ready Twitter. New information is posted each weekday, so check back often for updates.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Get Ready campaign to hold song contest

Calling all musicians and people with creative talent! APHA is seeking entries for new a songwriting competition.

The contest is being held in support of APHA’s Get Ready campaign. To enter the contest, which is open to both APHA members and non-members, entrants should write and record a song supporting the Get Ready campaign. Songs can focus on specific issues covered by the campaign, such as creating a preparedness plan, stockpiling supplies or handwashing, or on overall preparedness. Creativity is encouraged. Songs can be recorded in an audio or video format.

The first-place winner of the Get Ready Song Contest will receive an Apple iPod and the second-place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to either iTunes or Amazon.com.

The competition will open for entries on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007, and the deadline for submissions is Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m. Eastern time. Full contest details and submission instructions will be available soon on the contest Web page, so start tuning up those pianos!

U.S., global health workers on lookout for deadliest infectious diseases

The United States is joining countries around the world in being on high alert for some of the globe’s most deadly infectious diseases.

Under new International Health Regulations created by the World Health Organization, the United States is working through its state and local reporting networks to identify, respond to and share information about public health emergencies of international concern. The regulations took effect in the United States July 18.

The regulations call on WHO member countries — which include the United States — to report disease outbreaks and other public health events that have an international impact. Specifically, the new regulations add four diseases — smallpox, polio, severe acute respiratory syndrome — to the list of those that must be immediately reported to WHO.

“Today’s world of rapid air travel, international migration, emerging diseases, threats of terrorism and the potential threat of an influenza pandemic underscore the importance of the International Health Regulations,” said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt.

The emergence of SARS in 2003 demonstrated “as no previous disease outbreak ever had” how interconnected the world has become and how rapidly a new disease can spread, according to WHO. SARS served as a wake-up call for global health officials, said Margaret Chan, MD, WHO director-general, but isn’t the main concern today.

"Today, the greatest threat to international public health security would be an influenza pandemic,” said Chan in June, when the International Health Regulations came into force. “The threat of a pandemic has not receded, but implementation of the (regulations) will help the world to be better prepared for the possibility of a pandemic."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This week in pandemic flu, emerging infectious disease

Pandemic flu and preparedness are on the minds of state health workers around the nation, as evidenced by some of the news headlines reported this week by APHA’s Get Ready news Twitter.

Among the week’s highlights from the states include:
* Colorado preparedness campaign to host home reality competition
* Los Angeles County launches “Just Be Ready” preparedness campaign
* Virginia 4-H fairs forgo poultry because of bird flu fears
* Ohio county readies for pandemic flu
* Low-risk bird flu at Virginia turkey farm but not spreading

For links to these and dozens of other news stories and resources, visit the Get Ready Twitter.

New information is posted each weekday, so check back for updates, or sign up for our RSS feed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Happy birthday to the Get Ready campaign!

Join APHA in celebrating the first anniversary of our Get Ready campaign. During the past year, we’ve made big strides in our effort to increase the number of Americans who are prepared for pandemic flu or other emerging infectious diseases, including:

* posting more than 80 blog entries;
* producing five podcasts;
* creating a public-friendly Web site featuring materials to help people prepare;
* starting a Get Ready news Twitter for quick updates on pandemic flu and emerging infectious disease news stories;
* debuting our own designer collection, with T-shirts, mugs and other apparel proudly featuring the Get Ready logo; and
* participating in a pandemic flu blog and summit sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

We have lots more to come, including a song contest, more podcasts and public events -- so stay tuned!

We hope by helping Americans prepare for pandemic flu and other emerging infectious diseases, it will also strengthen their preparedness for other threats to their health and lives, such as hurricanes or terrorism.

To help us celebrate our birthday, tell a friend (or two) about the Get Ready campaign! Please leave us birthday wishes, questions or suggestions by using the blog's comment feature below.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This week in pandemic flu, emerging infectious disease

This week's pandemic flu and emerging infectious disease news, as highlighted by APHA's Get Ready news Twitter include:

* Gates Foundation may fund bird flu vaccinations
* Study links flu in pregnant women with mental illness in children
* Indonesia confirms 81st human bird flu death
* Deporting TB patients creates high risk for not completing treatment
* Human antibodies that block SARS viruses identified

For links to these and more than two dozen other stories and resources this week, visit the Get Ready Twitter.

New information is posted each week day, so check back for updates.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Get Ready gear now available!

Worried about pandemic flu but not sure how to help? APHA's Get Ready campaign has a new line of T-shirts, mugs and other material that will help you spread the word.

Show your support for public health preparedness by sporting a Get Ready T-shirt, cap or tote. Each item features the Get Ready logo, which will undoubtedly cause people to ask: "Hey, what are you getting ready for?"

The Get Ready line includes shirts, bags, hats, mouse pads and buttons. There is even a special Get Ready shirt for your pooch and bib for your baby. Organic and value-priced shirts are also available.

Wearing the Get Ready items is a great way to get people talking and help spread the word about the importance of preparing for pandemic flu and other emerging infectious diseases.

The new materials are the latest addition to APHA's Get Ready campaign, which is helping Americans prepare themselves, their families and their communities for pandemic flu and other emerging infectious diseases. The campaign, launched in 2006, includes a website , podcasts, fact sheets and news feed in addition to this blog. APHA’s affiliated state and regional public health associations are working to bring the Get Ready campaign's message to communities.

Check out the new gear at the APHA Get Ready store .

Friday, July 06, 2007

Get an ear-full of flu news!

Concerned about pandemic influenza, but don't have the time to read through pages and pages of information? APHA's Get Ready campaign can help. Download our podcast series, now featuring our latest episode, to begin learning about pandemic influenza and preparedness. Just plug in your earphones and listen on the go. There's no reading required.

Our newest episode, "For pandemic flu prevention, the best advice may be 'rub-a-dub-dub,'" reminds listeners that (in this case anyway!) their mothers were right –- wash your hands! Handwashing proves to be one of the simplest and easiest ways to prevent the spread of disease, including flu.

The new podcast adds to the growing collection of Get Ready tools that help educate the public about protecting themselves, their families and their communities against a potential pandemic, as well as advise people on other issues such as news on the seasonal flu or infectious diseases.

Other entries in the series include "Flu 101," the two-part debut podcast, which features APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, discussing the threat of pandemic flu and APHA's Get Ready campaign. "Seasonal Flu," covered in episode 3, paints an overview of the difference between pandemic and seasonal influenza.

Click here to check out our expanding podcast series: http://www.getreadyforflu.org/pg_podcast.htm

Give a listen, and send us your ideas on what topics you'd like to see covered in future podcasts using the comments feature on the blog below.