As Hurricane Dorian reaches closer to landfall in Florida or southern Georgia this weekend, we’ve updated our list of resources to help reporters connect with public health officials and other sources.
Excessive flooding and damage to local health infrastructure means people will be dealing with the public health effects of the storm for a while.
Even if you’re not reporting on an affected location, this may be a good time to ask some questions of your local public health leaders and write about disaster preparedness issues. Here are some resources to help craft those questions: Continue reading
As public health officials grapple with strategies to respond to natural disasters and disease outbreaks, they face a host of challenges, from misinformation on social media and some communities’ lack of trust in government to the definition of what being “prepared” means.
That is why engaging with community leaders on emergency preparedness is especially important, two public health leaders told AHCJ members in a recent webcast. Continue reading
Reporters covering the flu season know it has been one of the most severe in the past decade. As of early February, the number of people who have visited a doctor due to the flu had exceeded the 2009 swine flu pandemic. Public health officials have known since last fall that this flu season was likely to be severe, yet the health system had trouble keeping up. Hospitals have been overwhelmed. There have been shortages of antivirals, IV saline bags and flu shots. Dozens of children have died.
What does that say about the U.S. health system’s readiness for handling infectious disease outbreaks? We are among the wealthiest nations in the world, and yet every year the health system has trouble convincing people to get the flu vaccine and has further difficulty caring for those who get ill. Continue reading
Image: NIAID via FlickrColorized transmission electron micrograph showing H1N1 influenza virus particles.
Population explosion, ease of travel and factory farming of animals are all reasons that a flu pandemic – a fast-spreading, contagious flu with high mortality – is inevitable, public health experts said during an Oct. 10 AHCJ webcast on pandemic preparedness.
“What is the possibility of a pandemic? It’s absolute. It will happen,” said webcast participant Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “Are we ready? The bottom line is that we are not.” Continue reading
Photo: National Weather Service
As the humanitarian crisis brought by Hurricane Harvey continues to unfold in Texas and Louisiana, health reporters are filing valuable stories on how hospitals in the region are holding up amid the devastating floods and displacement of thousands of residents.
You can read about how hospitals are coping in the Houston Chronicle, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Modern Healthcare and others.
Procedures and protocols put in place in Houston-area hospitals in recent years are being tested to the limit right now. Beyond hospital capabilities, displaced residents who fled rising waters in their homes are, in some cases, telling journalists they are without needed medications.