Local Preparedness

The following information includes efforts in San Diego County to prevent the spread of avian influenza:

  • The County is conducting year-round surveillance of influenza. Human avian influenza virus infections would appear as any other influenza case would. The offices of Community Epidemiology (Epi), Immunization, Public Health Laboratory (Lab), and the County Veterinarian's Animal Laboratory work with community partners on the following:

    • Reporting and Testing - Local schools, hospitals, laboratories, and medical providers report suspected human influenza cases. The Lab also requests specimens from providers with suspect influenza patients and those with positive test results. Epi provides rapid influenza tests to select sentinel clinics around the County for the purpose of active influenza surveillance. 

      If avian influenza is suspected, the Community Epidemiology Branch (CEB) would be contacted. If, after consult with the CEB, testing is indicated, specimens may be sent to the San Diego County Public Health Laboratory where testing for Influenza A H1, H3 and H5 (Asian lineage) will be performed by PCR. 

      If a suspected or confirmed case of avian influenza was reported anywhere in the nation, an Emergency Medical Alert Network (EMAN) alert would be sent to notify the medical community. If the case was local, County would work with the State to do follow-up on suspected cases and others who have been exposed.

      County Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab performs avian influenza testing on all suspect birds that are submitted to their lab.

    • Monitoring - Epi monitors influenza-like illnesses or respiratory illnesses via the QA-Net system and electronic reports from schools, hospitals and their emergency rooms, clinics, emergency transports, laboratories, 911 call centers, medical professionals, and others. If an abnormal increase is detected, it is investigated.

  • Information sharing - Since 2001, EMAN has been sending updates to the local medical community on influenza (including avian influenza). EMAN alerts on avian influenza will continue to be sent as new information emerges.

    The County would use local media to alert the general public regarding any important information on avian influenza via news releases/advisories.

    Community Epidemiology staff is available to answer questions from the public and medical community.

  • The following guidelines are provided by the County via EMAN, Physicians' Bulletins, and lectures:

    • Avian Influenza Testing for Patients at Risk (State guidelines)
    • Avian Influenza Infection Control Precautions for Health Care Facilities (World Health Organization guidelines) 

  • Response planning - There is a San Diego County Pandemic Influenza Response Plan that addresses media communication, mass prevention and treatment (once a vaccine is available), isolation and quarantine, decontamination, and the role of the medical examiner. Further response planning is underway.  This plan is currently being revised.

For more information send us an email or phone (619) 692-8499.