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Pandemic Influenza Planning in the United States from a Health Disparities Perspective

Blumenshine, P.; Reingold, A.; Egerter, S.; Mockenhaupt, R.; Braveman, P.; Marks, J.
Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC)

May 1, 2008

We explored how different socioeconomic and racial/ethnic groups in the United States might fare in an influenza pandemic on the basis of social factors that shape exposure, vulnerability to influenza virus, and timeliness and adequacy of treatment. We discuss policies that might differentially affect social groups’ risk for illness or death. Our purpose is not to establish the precise magnitude of disparities likely to occur; rather, it is to call attention to avoidable disparities that can be expected in the absence of systematic attention to differential social risks in pandemic preparedness plans. Policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels should consider potential sources of socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities during a pandemic and formulate specific plans to minimize these disparities.