EMBARGOED UNTIL October 1, 2009, 4 PM (ET)
CONTACT: For copies of articles, call Patricia Warin, 202-777-2511, or e-mail email@example.com.
October Supplement Issue, Influenze Preparedness and Response
NOT FOR RELEASE UNTIL Oct. 1, 2009, 4 p.m. EDT, Washington, D.C. — New articles released today outline the needs of vulnerable populations during an influenza pandemic, including children, people with disabilities and low-income communities. These articles, which were developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appear in a special influenza preparedness issue of the American Journal of Public Health, published by the American Public Health Association.
Public health emergencies have made clear the necessity of taking into special consideration the challenges and risks that vulnerable populations present. The papers highlighted in the special issue were developed prior to the current H1N1 pandemic and for a potential severe influenza pandemic. Up-to-date information and guidance on H1N1 influenza can be found at http://www.flu.gov.
With an expected resurgence of the H1N1 virus in the United States this fall, these articles should help to minimize the risk and stem the spread of the virus in these communities, including the following vulnerable populations:
- Children — Children are a vulnerable segment of the population, dependent on others for providing their food, shelter, transportation and medical care. Those under the age of 18 years account for approximately 74 million residents of the United States.
- Racial and ethnic minority populations — Broad disparities in underlying health status and social factors such as socioeconomic disadvantages; cultural, educational and linguistic barriers; and lack of access to and use of health care contribute to why racial and ethnic minority populations are more vulnerable in the event of influenza pandemic.
- Public housing, single-parent and low-income families — Data suggest that poverty, in addition to exposing individuals to more acute and chronic stressors, weakens an individual’s ability to cope with new problems and difficulties.
- People with disabilities — People with disabilities, particularly those who require personal assistance and those who reside in congregate care facilities, may be at increased risk during an influenza pandemic because of disrupted care or the introduction of the virus by their caregivers.
- Farmworkers — Whether working with livestock or crops, farmworkers may also be more vulnerable than the general population to human influenza pandemics as a result of living conditions, suboptimal access to health services and potential communication barriers resulting from language and culture.
- Local jails — Persons held in correctional facilities in the United States have high rates of infectious and chronic diseases, mental illness, substance dependency and homelessness prior to jail booking, than the general public. During an influenza pandemic, these health and socioeconomic issues would likely make jail inmates particularly vulnerable because of their compromised immune systems and possible diminished capacity to understand the importance of taking medication.
“Only when the nation is prepared to protect those who are most vulnerable will we be assured that we have in place an effective and efficient preparedness and response system,” noted Dr. Sonja Hutchins of the CDC and guest editor of the special supplement. “These articles helped us shape our strategies to respond to and contain the H1N1 virus among vulnerable populations, but also may help to combat future pandemics and other public health emergencies.”
In May, articles for pregnant women, home health care workers, tribal communities and immigrants and refugees, which are also included in this supplement, were made available in a special early release by the American Journal of Public Health.
The special issue will be published online October 1, 2009, at 4 p.m. EDT by the American Journal of Public Health at http://www.ajph.org, and are currently scheduled to appear in the October 2009 Supplement print issue of the Journal. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org. To stay up-to-date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new Journal content e-mail alerts at http://www.ajph.org/subscriptions/etoc.shtml?ck=nck.
The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly Journal of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health. More information is available at www.apha.org.
Complimentary online access to the journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Patricia Warin at APHA, 202-777-2511, or via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $25 from the Journal’s Subscriptions department at http://www.ajph.org/subscriptions. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $20 and online single article access is $15 at http://www.ajph.org/. If you would like to order or renew a subscription, visit http://www.ajph.org/subscriptions, or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516 or e-mail email@example.com.
To stay up-to-date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new content e-mail alerts at http://www.ajph.org/subscriptions/etoc.shtml?ck=nck.