HHS Unveils New, Collaborative Influenza Detection and Response Plan

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recently unveiled an updated plan for pandemic flu preparedness and response. The revised plan (which builds on a 2007 plan) incorporates lessons learned from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

The U.S. will collaborate with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico, “on surveillance and early warning systems for disease outbreaks and epidemiological investigations of animal and pandemic flu viruses,” AHA News reports.

“Known as NAPAPI, the plan provides, for the first time, a framework for the health, agriculture, security, and foreign affairs sectors of all three countries to collaborate on pandemic preparedness and response. Collaboration among these partners is vital for a faster response to pandemic threats,” according to an HHS Press Release.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response led the U.S. effort to develop the trilateral plan in collaboration with the Departments of State, Agriculture, and Homeland Security and their counterparts in Mexico and Canada.

Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS and a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service, praised NAPAPI as “a trilateral commitment to enhancing health security across the continent,” stating, “H1N1 provided a stern reminder that diseases don’t respect national borders and can spread rapidly in our interconnected world so protecting health requires cooperation and collaboration among countries.”

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