NEW First Vaccine Against H5N1 Avian Flu Approved In The US

U.S. Flu Crisis Guidelines - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidelines for handling a U.S. flu crisis. They adopt various "social distancing" strategies.

Absent from the guidelines are travel restrictions.

Economic concerns led to the ommission of travel restrictions.

Here is the summary statement, word-for-word, from the website:

Pandemic Mitigation

The best protection against pandemic influenza—-a vaccine that is well-matched to the virus causing illness—-is not likely to be available at the outset of a pandemic. Community strategies that do not involve vaccines or medications (also called non-pharmaceutical interventions) may serve as a first line of defense to help delay or mitigate the spread of influenza.

Mitigation guidelines issued by the CDC (February 2007) include social distancing strategies to reduce contact between people:

  • closing schools
  • canceling public gatherings
  • planning for liberal work leave policies
  • teleworking strategies
  • voluntary isolation of cases
  • voluntary quarantine of household contacts

The guidance was developed through a collaborative process that included public health officials, mathematical modelers, researchers, and stakeholders from government, academia, private industry, education, and civic and faith-based organizations. It will be refined as needed based on further knowledge gained from research, exercises, and practical experience.

The full document: Interim Pre-pandemic Planning Guidance: Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation in the United States - Early Targeted Layered use of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions is available at:

Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation (PDF - 2.51 MB)

Quotes From LA Times Article

The most serious flu pandemic should immediately prompt strict isolation measures, including sending students home from school for up to three months and quarantining households with sick members,

Because it would take four to six months to prepare a vaccine to protect against a pandemic flu, the guidelines are considered critical to restricting the virus in the interim.

The next best thing to a vaccine "is to try slow down the spread and buy some time,"

"We always want to err on the side of caution," he said. "This document, on first reading, appears to do that."

But he said the restriction could cause some serious social and economic problems.

Economic concerns led to the notable omission of travel restrictions:

"The trucks that cart the chlorine we need to purify water may have to move across state lines," he said. "We want to preserve the functioning of civil society and work to the extent possible…. If we are in the setting of a Category 5, then we can reevaluate."

U.S. issues guidelines for flu crises - Los Angeles Times

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