Review - Reviewer's Assessment

1. Short summary / abstract
The document outlines the conclusions from a technical consultation on preparedness for an influenza epidemic convened by WHO (16th - 18th March 2004) The consultation was attended by more than 100 experts from 33 countries who considered a wide range of measures that could be introduced by WHO and national authorities both before and during a pandemic. The three main objectives identified were: -
To forestall potential pandemics as they emerge;
To slow national and international spread;
To reduce the usually high levels of morbidity, mortality and social disruption
Four working groups looked at what reporting and monitoring systems are needed to detect the start of a pandemic and track its evolution, which interventions will be both feasible and effective at the different phases and in different settings and what policy options might best cope with the inevitable shortage of vaccines and antivirals.
The four groups considered: -
Surveillance for pandemic preparedness
Public health interventions
Antivirals – their use and availability
Better vaccines – better access
The document outlines some general conclusions and conclusions from the working groups. And the picture emerged of a world inadequately prepared to respond to influenza pandemic.

2. What question is the document addressing?
The document outlines the conclusions from a technical consultation on preparedness for an influenza epidemic convened by WHO (16th - 18th March 2004)

3. Type of study
Review, Best practice

4. Methods valid & appropriate?

UK Health Departments Influenza pandemic contingency plan (October 2005) based on the framework recommended by the World health Organisation for national pandemic plans

5. Results / recommendations reliable?
Yes: international experts in this field represented their national health departments/policy and made up the working groups

6. Any major problems and biases?
Held in March 2004 and body of scientific evidence and knowledge have developed since this consultation exercise. Should be read in conjunction with more recent WHO influenza pandemic publications

7. Any other important / relevant studies which confirm or contradict?
1. WHO Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response Web Directory
2. Department of Health: UK Health Departments’ UK Influenza pandemic contingency plan (October 2005)
3. Health Protection Agency, Algorithm for the management of returning travellers and visitors from countries affected by avian influenza (H5N1) presenting with a febrile respiratory illness: Recognition, investigation and initial management (24th February 2006).
4. Department of Health, Pandemic Flu: Web Directory
5. Department of Health: UK Health Departments’ UK influenza pandemic contingency plan (October
6. Department of Health: Explaining pandemic flu (19th October 2005)
7. Department of Health: Key Facts (19 October 2005)
8. Department of Health: Important information for you and your family (19 October 2005)
9. Department of Health: Frequently asked questions (19 October 2005)
10. Department of Health: Influenza pandemic contingency planning: Operational guidance for health service planners (12 May 2005)
11. Department of Health: UK operational framework for stockpiling, distributing and using antiviral medicines in the event of pandemic influenza (21 September 2005)
12. Department of Health: Clinical guidelines for patients with an influenza-like illness during an influenza pandemic (19 October 2005)
13. Department of Health: Guidance for pandemic influenza: infection control in hospitals and primary care settings (19 October 2005)
14. Department of Health Pandemic influenza slide set (19 October 2005)
15. Department of Health : DH statement on avian flu (14 October 2005)
16. Health protection Agency: General Information on avian influenza

8. Keywords
Influenza pandemic surveillance pandemic preparedness public health antiviral vaccination

Reviewer's Details:

Name:Sue Wiseman
Post:Nurse Consultant –Infection Control, DH
(Society / Organisation / Advisory Committee):
Member Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens
Health Protection Adviser Royal College of Nursing P/T
Member Infection Control Nurses Association

*** Note: These are the views of a professional expert rather than an official statement from his or her society, organisation or advisory committee.

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