According to US and international health officials, a new round of pandemic flu could hit the US within weeks. Come hear a panel of experts update us on the global movement and severity of H1N1, medical aspects of the illness, and how to prepare and protect ourselves, our families and our communities.

  • Christine Finley, MPH, Deputy Commissioner for Public Health in the State of Vermont, will bring us up-to-date public health information both globally and locally.
  • Deborah Kutzko FNP, Infectious Disease Unit Fletcher Allen Health Care, will discuss the medical aspects of the H1N1 virus.
  • Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Director of Planning and Community Development at City of Montpelier, will share her views and experiences on
    community preparedness and resilience.

Last spring, cases of human infection with the H1N1 virus were first reported in California and Texas. All U.S. states have since reported cases of H1N1 flu infection in humans. A nationwide public health emergency was declared in April. By June, the World Health Organization signaled that a global pandemic of influenza A (H1N1) was underway by raising the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6. This action was a reflection of the spread of the new H1N1 virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus. At the time, more than 70 countries had reported cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection and there were ongoing community level outbreaks of H1N1 in multiple parts of the world.

Since the WHO declaration of a pandemic, the new H1N1 virus has continued to spread, with the number of countries reporting cases of H1N1 nearly doubling. Pandemics are serious, and there's no telling how this new strain of flu might change. All eyes are on the Southern Hemisphere, where it's winter and flu season has begun. Countries there are reporting that the new H1N1 virus is spreading and causing illness along with regular seasonal flu viruses. The CDC reports that in this country, significant H1N1 illness has continued into the summer, with localized and in some cases intense outbreaks occurring. The United States continues to report the largest number of H1N1 cases of any country worldwide, however, most people who have become ill have recovered without requiring medical treatment.

What will happen this fall? Will the virus return with even more virulence, as happened in the 1918 pandemic? What do we need to know and what can we do as individuals, families, and communities to prepare? What is our public health system doing to prepare?

An outstanding panel of experts will inform our community about this evolving pandemic. Bringing us up-to-date public health information both globally and locally is Christine Finley, MPH, Deputy Commissioner for Public Health in the State of Vermont. Deborah Kutzko FNP, Infectious Disease Unit Fletcher Allen Health Care, will discuss the medical aspects of the H1N1 virus. Already involved in pandemic preparedness in Montpelier for the last year, Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Director of Planning and Community Development at City of Montpelier, will share her views and experiences on community preparedness and resilience.

View poster.

This panel discussion is sponsored by the Green Mountain Global Forum and the Mad River Valley Health Center. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call 496-7556. Discussion and refreshments to follow presentation.

Venue: Valley Players, Waitsfield, VT, 7pm start.