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In video briefs and interviews, experts in the field offer their perspectives on developments in health security and background on the issues addressed in our articles and reports. 

Hospitals "Full-Up": The 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Video feature

November 28, 2000

Hospitals ‘Full-Up’: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic is a short documentary that was first shown at the Center's 2nd National Symposium on Medical and Public Health Response to Bioterrorism (Washington, DC, November 28-29, 2000). The documentary was produced by Monica Schoch-Spana, based on her paper, Implications of Pandemic Influenza for Bioterrorism Response.

Following the symposium, the USPHS Office of Emergency Preparedness and HHS supported mass production and distribution of 3,000 copies of the video. The California Distance Learning Health Network of San Diego State University later collaborated with the Center to make the documentary available on-line as communities began preparations for a possible pandemic influenza.

Key messages of the documentary:

  • A catastrophic epidemic resulting from bioterrorism could severely tax society’s ability to care for the sick and dying.
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  • A large-scale, lethal epidemic could place severe burdens upon the health care system, as suggested by the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic in which acute shortages of health personnel, supplies, equipment and hospital beds occurred.
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  • Today’s hospitals are ill-equipped to respond to the mass casualties possible during an infectious disease emergency whether naturally occurring, as in the case of pandemic flu, or maliciously initiated, as in an act of biological terrorism.

See also: Monica Schoch-Spana's article Implications of Pandemic Influenza for Bioterrorism Response (Clinical Infectious Diseases 2000; 31:1409-1413).