HHS issues updated North American flu pandemic plan

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The Department of Health and Human Services yesterday announced an updated plan for collaborating with Canada and Mexico on pandemic flu preparedness and response. Released this week during the North American Leaders Summit, the update to the initial 2007 plan builds on lessons learned from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. According to HHS, the countries will collaborate on actions such as surveillance and early warning systems for disease outbreaks and epidemiological investigations of animal and pandemic flu viruses. The plan also calls for protecting critical infrastructure in a public health emergency and lays the ground work for mutual assistance during a response. "H1N1 provided a stern reminder that diseases don't respect national borders and can spread rapidly in our interconnected world so protecting health requires cooperation and collaboration among countries," said Nicole Lurie, M.D., HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response.

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