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The Personal Pandemic Preparedness Plan
Jamais Cascio, 7 Oct 05

WorldChanging reader "Shaman," in the comments in Alex's August call to "Out-Collaborate a Pandemic," noted that he had written up a "Personal Pandemic Preparedness Plan" to hand out to friends and family, and a few other readers asked for copies. Reader Anna Sessarego-Mercer found that one of the recipients had posted Shaman's plan online, and asked us to link to it.

The Personal Pandemic Preparedness Plan is a pretty good summary of the steps one should take to get ready for a serious pandemic event. It should be underlined that the scenario Shaman describes in this piece is among the worst-case likely scenarios, and not the only possible outcome of Avian Flu jumping fully to humans. Still, the steps described are useful even in a lesser epidemic; moreover, most of the preparation encouraged by this plan would serve well for many kinds of disasters, from earthquakes to massive storms -- any situation where you may be stuck at home for days or even a couple of weeks without any outside assistance.

As Pandemic Flu Awareness Week draws to a close, it's important to remember that information and preparedness go hand in hand, and both are necessary to keep you and your loved ones safe in the event of a pandemic disaster.

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has anyone considered a prediction market for avain flu? marginal revolution pointed out one in ohio with 80% accuracy:


Posted by: andrew on 9 Oct 05

The Pandemic Plan mentions washing often with antibacterial soap. Unnecessary--any soap and water will work. The antibacterial agents will do nothing to influenza or any other virus.

Posted by: RH on 9 Oct 05

Awareness Week has officially ended. Thanks to WC for helping it out!

Now we're all working at the next stage in global preparedness. There's the feeling that many things need to be worked out in parallel: technical, political, community, personal ... It looks like work at has only started. Go to for some hints.

Posted by: Lucas Gonzalez on 10 Oct 05

While this is a pretty fair stab at a disaster preparedness plan, I wish this article (and way, way too many others) would quit publishing "facts" about H5N1 that are not facts.

First...noone knows how virulent it actully is. The outbreaks are happening in third world countries. It killed about half of people who ended up in the hospital and were diagnosed. Noone knows how many undiagnosed, non-fatal cases there are. Based on the published numbers, if there are a just a 1000 undiagnosed cases, lethality falls to well below 5%.

Second...quit comparing H5N1 with the 1918 outbreak. Claiming equivalence here is pure and simple fearmongering. In 1918, there were no antibiotics, no antivirals and no influenza vaccines. World War I was going on, draining a significant amount of medical expertise to the battlefield. Considering the bulk of influenza fatalities come from secondary infections (pneumonia, etc.), the widespread use of antibiotics alone make the comparion, frankly, rubbish.

Posted by: Ken on 12 Oct 05

Deaths among cases has dropped since H5N1 started being active in 2003. For recent cases this is more like 35%. Taking into account the unknown number of undiagnosed cases, it will be less than 35%; only we don't know how much less.

And let's remember this H5N1 is not (yet) pandemic; if/when it does, it may (or may not) have to trade the new skill (human to human transmission) with a loss in the ability to kill.

Even so, 2% (just an example) is twice as much as 1% ... And 1% dead out of 20% clinically infected out of 6,300,000 world inhabitants is still 12,600,000 if my maths serve me well.

Deaths is just one "D".

There's also Disease (20% is a huge burden, three times as much as the more usual 7%, and people staying at home because they are told to do so or because they must take care of relatives or of children who can't go to schools.

And there's also Disruption. As Laurie Garret asked: "How do we eat?". How do we make sure there's enough insulin for diabetics if there's much less travel? What about places who live mainly on tourism?

Of course, it could be much less. No need to prepare for that!

Posted by: Lucas Gonzalez on 12 Oct 05



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