Many U.S. schools are not prepared for bioterrorism attacks, outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases or pandemics, despite the recent 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic that resulted in more than 18,000 deaths worldwide, Saint Louis University researchers say.
Only 48 percent of schools address pandemic preparedness and only 40 percent of schools have updated their plans since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic that spread illnesses in more than 214 countries.
The American Journal of Infection Control, the study also found that 44 percent of schools do not participate in community surveillance that tracks the presence of a disease based upon symptoms reported by area residents. These efforts are coordinated through local public health departments that assess indicators of biological threats.
One reason for lack in participation is that many communities may not have a surveillance program that uses school data as an indicator, said Rebmann. Another reason is that several schools might share a nurse, which can lead to inconsistent, inaccurate or unreported data.
Source: Medical News Today, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/250371.php