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  1. Davey, Victoria J. MPH, RN


Striking a balance between risk and preparedness.


OVERVIEW: Disaster planning based on events such as floods or hurricanes, which are local or regional in scale, may be inadequate for responding to a lethal influenza pandemic that has the potential to overwhelm existing public health infrastructures. However, if a mild strain of the virus achieves pandemic proportions, the current public health system may be able to manage the outbreak relatively easily. Therefore, the challenge in pandemic influenza planning is to find a balance between risk and preparedness. Planners and policy makers must make realistic estimates of the consequences of a pandemic and allocate limited resources wisely, so that everyday health care and social needs aren't shortchanged. This article examines what we've learned from past influenza pandemics and answers some frequently asked questions about pandemics and how to prepare for them.