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Keywords:

  • Developing countries;
  • influenza;
  • nonpharmaceutical interventions;
  • pandemic;
  • preparedness;
  • public health

Please cite this paper as: Starbuck et al (2012) Are we prepared to help low-resource communities cope with a severe influenza pandemic? Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses DOI: 10.1111/irv.12040.

Recent research involving lab-modified H5N1 influenza viruses with increased transmissibility and the ongoing evolution of the virus in nature should remind us of the continuing importance of preparedness for a severe influenza pandemic. Current vaccine technology and antiviral supply remain inadequate, and in a severe pandemic, most low-resource communities will fail to receive adequate medical supplies. However, with suitable guidance, these communities can take appropriate actions without substantial outside resources to reduce influenza transmission and care for the ill. Such guidance should be completed, and support provided to developing countries to adapt it for their settings and prepare for implementation.