Most U.S. schools unprepared for pandemics: study

Most U.S. schools unprepared for pandemics: study
Protective gear, medication stockpiles, staff disaster training all lacking.

(HealthDay)—Many U.S. schools are not prepared for another pandemic, according to a new study.

Saint Louis University researchers analyzed survey responses from about 2,000 school nurses at primary, elementary, middle and high schools in 26 states and found that less than half of the schools include in their school plan and only 40 percent have updated their school plan since the deadly 2009 H1N1 .

Only about 30 percent of schools stockpile any , 1.5 percent stockpile medication in anticipation of another pandemic, about 23 percent of schools have no staff members trained on the school's disaster plan, and nearly 34 percent of schools train students on infection prevention less than once a year.

However, while slightly over 2 percent of schools require school nurses to receive the annual flu vaccine, nearly 74 percent of school nurses said they were vaccinated for the 2010-2011 , according to the study in the September issue of the .

"Findings from this study suggest that most schools are even less prepared for an infectious disease disaster, such as a pandemic, compared to a natural disaster or other type of event," study author Terri Rebmann, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health, said in a journal news release. "Despite the recent H1N1 pandemic that disproportionately affected school-age children, many schools do not have plans to adequately address a future biological event."

U.S. schools must continue to address gaps in infectious disease emergency planning, the researchers concluded. School preparedness for all types of disasters, including pandemics, is mandated by the U.S. Department of Education.

More information: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about flu pandemics.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

School closures slow spread of pH1N1: study

Feb 06, 2012

Closing elementary and secondary schools can help slow the spread of infectious disease and should be considered as a control measure during pandemic outbreaks, according to a McMaster University led study.

Children's hospitals not equipped to handle pandemics

Aug 23, 2011

A new study of children's hospitals nationwide has found them underequipped to handle a major surge of patients in the event of a pandemic, and urges health care institutions and government agencies to immediately review ...

Recommended for you

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

4 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

5 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

7 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

On the environmental trail of food pathogens

8 hours ago

Tracking one of the deadliest food contamination organisms through produce farms and natural environments alike, Cornell microbiologists are showing how to use big datasets to predict where the next outbreak could start.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.