Most U.S. schools unprepared for pandemics: study

August 30, 2012
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.

Explore further: School closures slow spread of pH1N1: study

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


Related Stories

School closures slow spread of pH1N1: study

February 6, 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

August 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 ...

H1N1 study shows closing schools, other measures effective

May 24, 2011
Schools were closed, restaurants shuttered and large public gatherings cancelled.

Recommended for you

Phase 3 trial confirms superiority of tocilizumab to steroids for giant cell arteritis

July 26, 2017
A phase 3 clinical trial has confirmed that regular treatment with tocilizumab, an inhibitor of interleukin-6, successfully reduced both symptoms of and the need for high-dose steroid treatment for giant cell arteritis, the ...

A large-scale 'germ trap' solution for hospitals

July 26, 2017
When an infectious airborne illness strikes, some hospitals use negative pressure rooms to isolate and treat patients. These rooms use ventilation controls to keep germ-filled air contained rather than letting it circulate ...

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Male hepatitis B patients suffer worse liver ailments, regardless of lifestyle

July 25, 2017
Why men with hepatitis B remain more than twice as likely to develop severe liver disease than women remains a mystery, even after a study led by a recent Drexel University graduate took lifestyle choices and environments ...

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Research examines lung cell turnover as risk factor and target for treatment of influenza pneumonia

July 24, 2017
Influenza is a recurring global health threat that, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths every year, most due to influenza pneumonia, or viral pneumonia. Infection with ...

0 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.