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Obama Signs Emergency Declaration for H1N1 Flu, NPR Video Shows How Virus Takes Over

Sun October 25 2009 2:10 am  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=15788
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Watching the ‘beautiful’ virus replication presented in this animated special effects graphic video from NPR will amaze you whether you are sick or not (Produced and edited by Jason Orfanon. Animation by Zirus and XVIVO).

President Barack Obama does “hereby find and proclaim that, given the rapid increase in illness across the Nation may overburden health care resources and that the temporary waiver of certain standard Federal requirements may be warranted in order to enable U.S. health care facilities to implement emergency operations plans, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in the United States constitutes a national emergency.”

The national emergency has been declared now so that procedures are in place if the epidemic runs rampant. The action has been compared to declaring an emergency before a hurricane strikes a forecast area.

Section 1135 of the Social Security Act [42 USC §1320b–5] permits the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive certain regulatory requirements for healthcare facilities in response to emergencies. Two conditions must be met for the Secretary to be able to issue such “1135 waivers”: first, the Secretary must have declared a Public Health Emergency; second, the President must have declared a National Emergency either through a Stafford Act Declaration or National Emergencies act Declaration. If these conditions are met, then healthcare facilities may petition for 1135 waivers in response to particular needs, and only within the geographic and temporal limits of the emergency declarations.

Examples of waivers:

Hospitals request to set up an alternative screening location for patients away from the hospital’s main campus (requiring waiver of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act-EMTALA)
Hospitals request to facilitate transfer of patients between ERs and inpatient wards between hospitals (requiring waiver of both EMTALA and HIPAA regulations)

Critical Access Hospitals requesting waiver of 42 CFR 485.620, which requires a 25-bed limit and average patient stays less than 96 hours

Skilled Nursing Facilities requesting a waiver of 42 CFR 483.5, which requires CMS approval prior to increasing the number of certified beds in a distinct part

Some hospitals have already set up tents so infectious individuals are kept away from infecting the hospital emergency room.

How does 2009 H1N1 virus spread?
Spread of 2009 H1N1 virus is thought to occur in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. The video presented shows how one virus sneaks in to a cell and causes the replication of millions of viruses. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

How long can an infected person spread this virus to others?
People infected with seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu shed virus and may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems and in people infected with the new H1N1 virus.

According to the scientists and physicians, using preventive measures, such as washing your hands, refraining from touching your eyes, face or mouth, avoiding locations where people are sick coughing and sneezing, and getting a vaccine are the most important things you can do to stay healthy this flu season. People who are sneezing and coughing are advised to cough or sneeze into an arm to minimize spread of droplets. Visit Flu.gov to learn more about H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines and view additional resources.

Sources:
Centers of Disease Control — cdc.govH1N1 Questions and Answers
flu.gov
The White House — whitehouse.gov

Animation video created ad narrated by Zirus and XVIVO/Robert Krulwich, David Bolinsky

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