The CDC requested on May 6 that the manufacturing community provide information on its respiratory protective device (RPD) and surgical mask manufacturing capabilities.
The statement said that the federal government needs to understand the capabilities of RPD and other medical product manufacturers in the event of an influenza pandemic, Global Biodefense reports.
The CDC requested specific information, including the time required to manufacture large quantities of products, how RPDs are packaged, the shelf life of certain products and the location of manufacturers of components, subassemblies and accessories.
Respondents were asked to provide information on their top five best selling products that are or could be used by powered air-purifying respirators, elastomeric half-facepiece respirators, N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators and surgical masks, according to Global Biodefense.
The response deadline for the request for information is June 5.
The CDC said that while the 2009 H1N1 outbreak was relatively mild, the government must be prepared for more severe influenza outbreaks like the 1957 pandemic. That outbreak originated in China and killed approximately1-4 million people worldwide, including 69,800 in the U.S.
"Despite high infection rates, the 2009 H1N1 virus was only mildly pathogenic, with relatively low rates of accompanying morbidity and mortality in the general population," the CDC said. "However, it is possible that future pandemics will feature morbidity and mortality rates comparable with more severe pandemics such as 1957. The ever-present and ever-evolving threat of pandemic influenza presents a compelling need for the federal government to optimize preparedness using medical countermeasures currently available in the marketplace and to develop innovation in the prevention and treatment of influenza disease."