United States government agencies, in collaboration with international colleagues, have worked to prepare our country for an avian influenza outbreak/pandemic through surveillance, planning, training, and stockpiling of supplies and equipment.
Avian influenza surveillance is conducted by several agencies that test for disease, record confirmed cases, and track the spread of avian influenza. Some of the agencies involved include United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), World Health Organization (WHO), and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Planning is an essential part of ensuring a successful response. Several agencies have created response plans that target the unique aspects of an outbreak. For example, USDA has prepared a response plan for an avian influenza outbreak in poultry, while the Department of Human Health Services (HHS) has created a Pandemic Influenza Plan to control and mitigate the spread of a highly infectious influenza virus among people.
Task force teams have been named and designated for state and federal organizations and are ready to respond at a moment’s notice. USDA maintains a national network of veterinarians and diagnosticians to monitor and respond to outbreaks of HPAI and other foreign animal diseases (FADs). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) participates in the National Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Task Force created in May 2005 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The CDC also works with agencies to conduct training for state laboratories and epidemiologists.
If an avian influenza outbreak/pandemic were to occur, the federal government maintains stockpiles of medications, vaccines, and response equipment for responders. The National Veterinary Stockpile (NVS) stores materials for an animal outbreak and the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile contains resources for a human pandemic.