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2009 H1N1 Flu Pandemic Response Documentation Archive 2009-2010
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Biographical/Historical Note

Nicole Lurie is an American physician, professor of medicine, and public health official. During the administration of President Barack Obama, she was Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Lurie received her bachelor's and M.D. degrees form the University of Pennsylvannia. She then practiced primary care medicine and joined the University of Minnesota in 1985 where she rose to become professor of medicine and public health, director of primary care research, and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine. Lurie also worked in state government and served as medical advisor to the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health.

In 1998, Lurie became Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unil 2001. She worked on the Healthy People 2010 initiative and initiative to reduce health disparities, as well as pandemic influenza planning.

Luriue then joined the RAND Corporation to oversee its work on public health and preparedness between 2001-2009, highlighted by a project that conducted 32 tabletop exercises on hypothetical crises caused by smallpox, anthrax, botulism, plague, and pandemic influenza; and interviewing officials from 44 communities in 17 states.

Lurie returned to HHS in 2009 as Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at HHS and became a rear admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service. Lurie oversaw the federal public health response to various health crises, including the H1N1 pandemic, Hurricane Sandy, and the Boston Marathon bombing. Lurie was later appointed to oversee the federal response to the Flint water crisis. []

In the spring of 2009, a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged. It was detected first in the United States and spread quickly across the United States and the world. This new H1N1 virus contained a unique combination of influenza genes not previously identified in animals or people. This virus was designated as influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 virus. The (H1N1)pdm09 virus was very different from H1N1 viruses that were circulating at the time of the pandemic. Few young people had any existing immunity (as detected by antibody response) to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus, but nearly one-third of people over 60 years old had antibodies against this virus, likely from exposure to an older H1N1 virus earlier in their lives. Since the (H1N1)pdm09 virus was very different from circulating H1N1 viruses, vaccination with seasonal flu vaccines offered little cross-protection against (H1N1)pdm09 virus infection. While a monovalent (H1N1)pdm09 vaccine was produced, it was not available in large quantities until late Novemberafter the peak of illness during the second wave had come and gone in the United States. From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus. Globally, 80 percent of (H1N1)pdm09 virus-related deaths were estimated to have occurred in people younger than 65 years of age. This differs greatly from typical seasonal influenza epidemics. Though the 2009 flu pandemic primarily affected children and young and middle-aged adults, the impact of the (H1N1)pdm09 virus on the global population during the first year was less severe than that of previous pandemics.

The United States mounted a complex, multi-faceted and long-term response to the pandemic. On August 10, 2010, WHO declared an end to the global 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. However, (H1N1)pdm09 virus continues to circulate as a seasonal flu virus, and cause illness, hospitalization, and deaths worldwide every year. []