A Message to America's Hospitals:

Across the nation, hospitals are hearing concerns about the threat of smallpox. In response to these concerns, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the Interim Smallpox Response Plan and Guidelines, a draft smallpox response plan to assist community public health officials and hospital staff in creating their own response to such a biological attack.

We've attached the plan's executive summary. The longer working draft has been sent to local, state and private health officials for their comments. Specifically, the CDC has asked them to review the plan and provide comments in several areas, including what additional resources might be needed at the local level, what areas might need further clarification, and what additional activities might be needed in the event of a smallpox emergency. The CDC said it will update this plan regularly to reflect changes in overall public resources for responding to a smallpox emergency.

As of this writing, the CDC has not determined how it will make the working draft publicly available. For updated information on obtaining the document and providing comments from your facility, keep an eye on www.aha.org, under "Disaster Readiness," or check the CDC site at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/index.asp.

In addition, the CDC and its national partners will present on Thursday, December 13 from Noon to 2 p.m., a live satellite broadcast, "Smallpox: What Every Clinician Should Know." Continuing education credits will be offered to a variety of health professions. Please check the AHA's Disaster Readiness site for broadcast and webcast details, or the CDC site at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/.

As with our other Disaster Readiness Advisories, we urge you to share this advisory with members of your readiness team. If you have questions, concerns or comments on the CDC's plan, contact Jim Bentley, AHA vice president of strategic policy and planning, at jbentley@aha.org, or (202) 626-4631, or Roslyne Schulman, senior associate director of policy development, at rschulman@aha.org, or (202) 626-2273.


Dick Davidson
AHA President



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