Critical Care Pandemic Preparedness Primer

  • M. D. Christian
  • S. E. Lapinsky
  • T. E. Stewart
Conference paper


The first half decade of the 21st century has brought with it infectious outbreaks such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) [1], bioterrorism attacks with anthrax [2], and the spread of H5N1 influenza A in birds across Asia and Europe [3, 4] sparking concerns reminiscent of the days of the Black Plague. These events, in the context of an instantaneous global-media world, have placed an unprecedented emphasis on preparing for a human influenza pandemic [5, 6]. Although some argue that the media have exaggerated the threat, the warnings of an impending pandemic are not without foundation given the history of past influenza pandemics [7], incidence of H5N1 infections among humans [8], and the potential impact of a pandemic. Reports of the 1918 pandemic vary, but most suggested that approximately one third of the world’s population was infected with 50 to 100 million deaths [9]. Computer modeling of a moderate pandemic, less severe then in 1918, in the province of Ontario, Canada predicts 73,252 admissions of influenza patients to hospitals over a 6-week period utilizing 72% of the hospital capacity, 171% of intensive care unit (ICU) capacity, and 118% of current ventilator capacity. Pandemic modeling by the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society also showed that critical care resources would be overwhelmed by even a moderate pandemic [10]. This chapter will provide intensivists with a review of the basic scientific and clinical aspects of influenza as well as an introduction to pandemic preparedness.


Health Care Worker Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Avian Influenza Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Score 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Christian
    • 1
  • S. E. Lapinsky
    • 2
  • T. E. Stewart
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Infectious Diseases and Critical CareMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Intensive CareMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada

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