June 13 Summit, HHS Blog to Prepare U.S. Population for Flu Pandemic

HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt is hosting a Leadership Forum on June 13 in Washington, D.C., on pandemic preparedness. The forum will convene leaders from a full spectrum of America's health care system and community leaders; the goal is to make the nation's population more prepared for a possible flu pandemic, HHS said May 25.

HHS also is hosting a blog summit on preparing for a pandemic. This five-week online event has already begun; members of the public are invited to join the conversation to persuade the nation to prepare at home, at work, and in the community. Visit http://blog.pandemicflu.gov/ to join.

"Pandemics, while rare, are not new. In the 20th century, three flu pandemics were responsible for more than 50 million deaths worldwide and almost a million deaths in the United States," according to the agency's announcement. "It is not possible to predict with certainty when the next flu pandemic will occur or how severe it will be, but the time to plan is now. Ours is the first generation ever to have an opportunity to prepare in advance of a pandemic."

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