In response to the recent human cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza (formerly called swine flu) in the United States and abroad, the Schools of Public Health have organized several trainings, resources, and repositories of information to provide information on the current outbreak, and provide tips for managing this public health emergency and keep the nation healthy.
Click on the links below for:
UPDATE: WHO Declares H1N1 Influenza Pandemic [June 11, 2009]
Map of What Schools of Public Health are Doing
Trainings for Health Professionals at Centers for Public Health Preparedness
Frequently Asked Questions
ASPH Briefing: H1N1 Influenza: Is the Public Health Workforce Adequately Prepared?
Map of H1N1 Cases Worldwide (HealthMap.org)
View ASPH Schools of Public Health: Swine Flu in a larger map
How do I find a pandemic influenza expert at a school of public health?
Email FindAnExpert@asph.org and indicate your specific request.
What is 2009 H1N1 flu and how can I get it?
The 2009 H1N1 flu is a type of influenza virus. In the early days of the outbreak, it was called swine flu but the United States has since changed its name to 2009 H1N1 flu. The flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses. Although it’s not normal, human cases can and are happening. The type of flu currently in the U.S. can be spread from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing from infected individuals. Sometimes people become infected by touching something with flu virus on it and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
2009 H1N1 flu is different than bird flu. Bird flu, or avian flu, viruses infect birds, including chickens, other poultry and wild birds such as ducks.
What can I do to prevent catching and spreading 2009 H1N1 flu?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following general tips to prevent the spread of the influenza:
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand gels are effective.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- If you believe you have influenza, then call your health care provider.
- Stay home from work or school to prevent from spreading the virus.
The CDC also offers guidance for specific populations (such as clinicians, childcare providers, schools, pregnant/breastfeeding women, etc.) at www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/. The CDC is offering the following resource for guidance on public gatherings: "Interim CDC Guidance for Public Gatherings in Response to Human Infections with Novel Influenza A (H1N1)"
What is pandemic flu?
Pandemic flu is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person-to-person.
Who decides when a pandemic exists?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has a system of pandemic alert phases. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is responding as though a pandemic is under way.
Is the 2009 H1N1 flu a pandemic?
Yes. On June 11, 2009, nearly 30,000 cases of the novel influenza A virus has been reported in 74 countries. The World Health Organization raised the pandemic alert to Phase 6 and declared that an H1N1 influenza pandemic is underway. See the official statement from the Director-General of WHO here.
What are schools of public health doing about pandemic influenza?
For years, schools of public health have been training the public health workforce for outbreaks such as pandemic influenza. Many professors in the schools of public health are experts in infectious diseases and epidemiology, the study of the spread of diseases.
Several ASPH-member schools of public health house CDC-funded Centers for Public Health Preparedness. The Centers for Public Health Preparedness are a national network of academic institutions working in collaboration with state and local public health departments and other community partners to provide life-long learning opportunities to the public health workforce, in order to handle the next public health crisis. For more information, click here.
To stay ahead of the curve, ASPH is partnering with the CDC to develop a set of competencies for the public health preparedness and response workforce. The competencies will be completed in the summer of 2010 and are in line with the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act passed into law in 2006. For more information, click here.
Last updated June 11, 2009.