Hazards: Pandemic Disease


Pandemic icon

A pandemic is a global communicable disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population and the virus begins to cause serious illness and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide.

An informed and prepared public can take appropriate actions to decrease their risk during a pandemic.

What to Do

If a pandemic occurs, it is likely to be a prolonged and widespread outbreak that could require temporary changes in many areas of society, such as schools, work, transportation and other public services.

  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • Practice good health habits, including eating a balanced diet, exercising daily, and getting sufficient rest.
  • In addition, take common-sense steps to stop the spread of germs including frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying away from others as much as possible when you are sick.

You should know both the magnitude of what can happen during a pandemic outbreak and what actions you can take to help lessen the impact of an influenza pandemic on you and your family.

In April 2009 an outbreak of human cases of H1N1 (swine) flu was discovered in North America and quickly spread to countries around the world. In June 2009, the World Health Organization raised its flu alert level to Phase 6 – the highest level – indicating that a global pandemic was underway.

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