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This Week in Preparedness 11.29.13

Mitigation Journal TWiP week ending 11.29.13

CDC buys into Social Media to Predict Flu - sponsors "Predict the Influenza Season Challenge" Enter for a chance to will $75,000 and CDC recognition. (

Department of Health and Human Services balk at H7N9 Vaccine. Is HHS holding back on a vaccine that could dampen the threat of pandemic from H7N9? If so, why? Read Politix Why Won't HHS Approve Crucial Flu Vaccine? (

Always worth following - Google Flu Trends indicates low level of seasonal flu activity in the United States as of this posting. Current numbers reflect flu cases on par with average for this time of year.  (

New Guidelines on Managing Obesity Crisis - The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association along with The Obesity Society and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute have issued a updated set of guidelines to battle what is believed to be one of the largest threats to national security and public health...Obesity. (

H7N9 Has Virulence and Transmissibility - It's stupid and contagious! But then, these are the qualities of most viruses. Novel Flu Virulence and Transmissibility. (

Nurses have a role in creating new IT? Really, what the heck for? Read: Why nurses must be involved in developing new health IT (

Preventing Opimism Bias is cornerstone of MJ's Culture of Preparedness. We've talked about preventing the "it can't happen to me" mentality since day one. Mainstream media is starting to listen according to this piece from The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne IN) Be Wary of 'it can't happen here' attitude. (journal

The Many Faces of H7N9. Indications are that H7N9 has as many as six different clinical presentations according to data gathered and presented in the Avian Flu Diary. Bookmark and check Avian Flu Diary often. (


Preparedness by Popular Demand

MJ Readers Suggest Topics for 2014

What preparedness topics are important to you as we move dangerously close to 2014? I asked that question on my Facebook page (rickrussotti) and was impressed by the depth of topics our readers and listeners came back with.

Steve Erb (Rochester, NY) suggested crowd/spectator control planning for events at malls, schools, sports ensues and outdoor events (civilian soft targets). Steve writes "we might learn some things regarding planning, communication and response from the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting as a case study." 

The Aurora situation is another tragic milestone with enduring lessons.  The rescue efforts have been questioned during that event and we've seen how politics can bog down readiness. In the end, what have we learned since Columbine? 

Michael Coffin (California) suggested a continued look at active shooter events along with a session on Zombie Apocalypse. Both are right up our alley. The zombie theme was mentioned by Lisamarie Pocza (Massachusetts), too. 

John Spaulding (Rochester, NY)suggested credentialing for volunteer fire officers, pre incident planning, and  social media in public safety. Johns topic about social media is exemplified by this post - all this subject matter came from one Facebook post!

Micheal F. Staley (Georgia) brought up an often overlooked topic - the importance of taking care of our family. 

Jim O'Kelly (Rochester) hit on another under-addressed topic - life in the post antibiotic world. 

You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@rickrussotti)


Welcome to Year Nine

Mitigation Journal Begins Ninth Year

For a variety of reasons I've struggled to find the time and energy to get back to the keyboard. I've questioned the relevance and importance of what we've been doing with Mitigation Journal blog and podcast over these past eight years. Social media has exploded and resource sites such as the CDC and UPMC have grown exponentially since MJ started in November, 2005, leaving me to wonder if this project is relevant any longer. 

The answer to the self-imposed question of relevancy came while I was speaking at large conference on the East coast. A line of attendees formed at the conclusion of each of my talks; not so much to ask questions, but to tell me how much they appreciated Mitigation Journal. Some preferred the blog content while others relied on the podcast of information. More than fifty people stopped me to introduce themselves and say they had read or listened to Mitigation Journal. Fifty people - I know the number because thats how many business cards were given out. Not too bad considering my original goal for this project was to reach 100 readers/listeners in Rochester, New York. 

With my misgivings abated we will move on. Mitigation Journal has turned eight. We're proud to say the blog receives 300 hits per day (even during hiatus) and the podcast reaches thousands of listeners world wide. As I say in classes "this is audience participation" and your voice is important to our conversation. Please follow me on Facebook (rickrussotti) and Twitter (@rickrussotti) to carry on that conversation. 

On behalf of Matt, our podcast co-host, thank you for your support and welcome to year nine!