A Global Threat
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an influenza pandemic (PanFlu) occurs when a new flu virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in simultaneous epidemics around the world with illness and fatalities well in excess of normal.
History tells us that influenza pandemics are recurrent. During the last century alone there were three flu pandemics 1918, 1957, and 1968; with the 1918 'Spanish Flu' alone killing over 50 million people worldwide. It has been 40 years since the last PanFlu, and we know it is not a matter of if, but when another pandemic will occur.
What does all this mean to us, our families, and our communities? Preparedness is the responsibility of everyone. Preparedness increases chances of survival during an emergency. Although some of our best defenses against the consequences of an influenza pandemic are to plan and prepare, we also need to practice and teach our children behaviors that will reduce the spread of the influenza virus. The non-medical intervention behaviors that we put in place on a personal and community-wide level are critical in our attempts to reduce the levels of exposure and infection not just in the event of a pandemic but during seasonal influenza outbreaks.
Here at the Center for Public Health Preparedness we partner with local health departments, community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations to train and to promote planning, prepping, and exercising for all emergencies including a pandemic.