The nation is under a threat seen only three times in the last century – a threat that once unleashed will impact every citizen, our social fabric, our economy, and some would say our very way of life. The NCCIA – a disparate group of experienced leaders, academics, practitioners, and trained crisis responders – met last March to discuss the looming threat from a pandemic influenza. They concluded that there is much that we need to do to prepare our nation for the possibility of an outbreak and that time is limited if those actions are to be effective.
The threat from a pandemic influenza sounds innocuous enough, after all we experience influenza every year and it has limited periodic impact. But the seasonal influenza is as different to a pandemic influenza as a tidal surge is to a tsunami – And make no mistake this impending pandemic influenza could impact the nation with the lethality of the most recent tsunami in South East Asia and, at the present time we are almost as unprepared as the inhabitants of those tragically impacted islands.