One hundred years ago, one of the deadliest disease outbreaks in recorded history swept the globe. During the 1918 influenza (flu) pandemic an estimated 500 million people — or one-third of the world’s population — became infected with this virus, and the number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 675,000 of those deaths occurred in the United States.
The CDC says on its website that the pandemic was so severe that from 1917 to 1918, life expectancy in the United States fell by about 12 years, to 36.6 years for men and 42.2 years for women.
You can read more about the 1918 pandemic on the CDC’s website. In remembering the deadly outbreak, the federal public health agency notes that since 1918, tremendous public health advancements have been made: the world has a better understanding influenza viruses and advances have been made in influenza vaccines, treatments and preparedness planning and response.
That said, influenza viruses continue to pose one of the world’s greatest infectious disease challenges, and the risk of the next influenza pandemic is always present.
Public health experts, as well as domestic and international partners are collaborating to address remaining gaps and increase preparedness to minimize the effects of future influenza pandemics.
When I think about public health preparedness and response I ask myself three questions: Who provides the infrastructure to train public health responders? Where do they learn what they know? Who helps a responder fulfill their mission? The answers to these questions may rest in the TRAIN Learning Network (TRAIN). — From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Public Health Matters Blog”
Private landowners in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana have protected 700,000 acres of critical wetlands in the past 25 years, which accounts for one-third of all wetlands under USDA conservation easements in the country. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and several conservation partners recently celebrated this milestone by visiting one of the landowners who used a conservation easement to restore and permanently protect the wetland. — From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Blog
When Zayan first told me that he has epilepsy, I didn’t believe him. “You mean seizures, right?” I was embarrassed at how much I didn’t know. Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that triggers recurrent seizures. It can be caused by different conditions that affect a person’s brain. — From the CDC’s “Public Health Matters Blog”
If a natural disaster or medical emergency struck today, would you be ready? September is National Preparedness Month, an annual campaign focused on encouraging Americans to take the time to prepare for emergencies of all types.
A key component of being prepared is having a plan. Emergencies can happen unexpectedly, and have the potential to impact you, your loved ones and your community. By taking the time to prepare now, you will be better able to deal with an emergency when it happens.
This September 21 will mark 25 years since Hurricane Hugo made landfall in South Carolina, causing devastation and billions of dollars in damages.
A Category 4 storm, Hugo at the time was the costliest hurricane to hit the United States. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division estimates that a storm of similar intensity on the same path would today cause more than $16.6 billion in damages and destroy more than 21,000 homes statewide.
Hugo’s anniversary is a reminder of the importance of staying prepared for disasters and emergencies of all kinds. With hurricane season well underway, the Department of Health and Environmental Control encourages all South Carolina visitors and residents to build an emergency kit and have a family disaster plan in place. Also, in the case of evacuation don’t forget to “Know Your Zone.” The actions you take today can help protect you and your loved ones tomorrow. Stay informed, stay prepared!
(The following post was originally sent as an email to DHEC Public Health staff on 2/2/14.)
One of our most important functions at DHEC is working with key partners to help prepare for, respond to and recover from emergency and disaster situations.
While many of us spent the early part of last week at home enjoying the snow, our Public Health Preparedness team was working hard to ensure that DHEC was ready to help respond to the winter storm.
Preparations for the storm began Monday when our preparedness staff participated in an SC Emergency Management Division (EMD) call to the counties. Based on information received on this call, our staff immediately began preparing to staff our Emergency Support Function-8, which provides critical health and medical services support in an emergency. Regional staff began organizing materials, equipment and supplies that might be needed in responding to the storm, and preparing to open special medical needs shelters. Continue reading →