CDC Categorizes Flu Epidemics Like Hurricanes

CDC Pandemic Severity Index

The CDC is now categorizing flu epidemics as Category 1 through 5 just like hurricanes are categorized. A Cat 5 flu would be far more devastating than a Cat 5hurricane. It would leave 1.8 million dead and it would shut down major cities for months. The new categories are part of a Pandemic Severity Index released as part of a new comprehensive strategy to deal with a severe influenza outbreak. You can see the Pandemic Severity Index graph above.

The plan was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with other Federal agencies and partners in the public health, education, business, healthcare, and private sectors.

The New York Times has a report on the new guidelines. The Times says it was partly based on the response to the 1918 epidemic.

In order to prepare early it will also be crucial that local governments have access to all the information they need. In other words, the federal government needs to rapidly share information with local governments so they can prepare as quickly as possible.

Image: CDC

Posted on February 1, 2007

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