WASHINGTON — A new study of children''s hospitals nationwide has found them underequipped to handle a major surge of patients in the event of a pandemic, and urges health care institutions and government agencies to immediately review emergency preparedness plans as flu season approaches, according to a press release.
The study, published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention''s (CDC) Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, examined data from 34 children''s hospitals as they dealt with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, which disproportionately affected children, the release stated.
According to the release, researchers found the median occupancy rate in the hospitals was 95 percent during the H1N1 pandemic but this situation did not differ from typical levels of high occupancy commonly experienced.
"Models representing an outbreak of a more virulent influenza virus based on historical comparisons demonstrate that modest increases in emergency department visits or emergency department admissions rates would have resulted in substantial overcrowding among the large cohort of children''s hospitals in our study," said the study''s lead author, Marion Sills.
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