The Army, led by HQDA G-3/5/7 War Plans, is working along with our sister services and the Department of Defense (DOD), to team with other federal agencies in preparing the nation to deal with a potential pandemic outbreak of influenza.
A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity, and for which there is no vaccine. The disease spreads easily person-to-person, causes serious illness, and can sweep across the country and around the world in very short time.
What is DOD doing to prepare for Pandemic Influenza? Since the publication of the DOD Implementation Plan for Pandemic Influenza in August 2006, the Secretary of Defense's principal responsibility in responding to a pandemic will be to protect U.S. interests at home and abroad. Our pandemic defense will include assisting partner countries to prepare for and detect an outbreak, respond should one occur, and manage the key second-order effects that could lead to an array of challenges.
What can Soldiers and Family Members do to prepare for a flu pandemic? Some recommendations from military health experts on ways to reduce your risk of contracting any form of flu include:
- Get vaccinated every year.
- Practice basic infection control techniques, such as washing your hands often and correctly, and coughing or sneezing into your sleeve.
- Monitoring your own health for prompt self-diagnosis of flu symptoms to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
What efforts does the DOD plan to continue in the future? The top priority is the protection of DOD forces, comprised of the military, DOD civilians and contractors performing critical roles, as well as associated resources necessary to maintain readiness. Also, it is critical to ensure DOD is able to sustain mission assurance and the ability to meet our strategic objectives. Priority consideration is also given to protect the health of DOD beneficiaries and dependents.
For more information on national guidance for Pandemic Influenza:
- Pandemic Influenza Watchboard