Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis

Calibrated response to emerging infections

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3471 (Published 03 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3471

Out of the mouths of babes...

On hearing the news of the "pandemic" this past spring, my medically
naive
daughter asked, "Dad, isn't this the same thing they said about SARS and
bird
flu?"

Her question brought to mind thoughts so nicely articulated in
Doshi's article.
I am happy that he is such a fine writer as I can refer my dear daughter
to this
as well as sharing it with patients and staff who are wrestling with how
to put
well intended information about H1N1 into a useable context.

I fully support the idea of categorizing pandemics so that the term
has more
meaning. I suspect government officials must assume a "worst-case
scenario"
but we all must, as Doshi reminds us, recognize the costs of our
preparation
and try to maintain balance.

The content and tone of this piece offer me a resource I can share
with patients
(and my daughter!) to help promote the prudence of practical preparedness
without the panic of pandemic.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 September 2009
Mark McConnell
Staff Internist
Tomah VAMC 54601