As swine flu wanes, U.S. preparing for second wave

June 4, 2009
by Julie Steenhuysen

A report by the non-profit group Trust for America's Health released on Thursday found that while the investment in pandemic planning and stockpiling of antiviral medications have paid off, recent cuts in public health departments have meant many did not have adequate resources to carry out flu plans.

It also found problems in plans for school closings and limiting mass gatherings, and even with a mild outbreak, it found hospital emergency departments and other parts of the healthcare delivery system were overwhelmed.

The group said the World Health Organization's pandemic alert phases caused confusion because they did not account for severity of infection, only its spread. WHO has put the H1N1 outbreak at 5 on its 6-point scale even though most cases have been relatively mild.

And they said international cooperation had proven to be more difficult than previously thought.

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