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Influenza Pandemic Emergency Plan

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Impacts of a pandemic

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Impacts of a pandemic

A global epidemic is referred to as a pandemic. An influenza pandemic (global wave of flu) could be caused by an influenza virus which is able to evoke a serious disease and is transmitted effectively from human-to-human. 2009, the A/H1N1 virus, also known as pig flu, was considered to be potentially dangerous.
But basically every influenza virus could change into a pandemic virus. They proved to cause influenza in humans. They have already been transmitted from human to human. Only the H1N1 virus was even responsible for several hunderd thousands of deaths world wide, as it appeared in almost every country of the world.

The human-to-human transmission, which is an important prerequisite for the emergence of a pandemic virus, has now been proven and the WHO (World Health Organization) already proclaimed the highest pandemic level there is (level 6) in June 2009. It means that they proclaimed the global transmission of an infectious disease. (Pandemic level 6 means that from now on all measures and emergency plans are taking effect in all public health authorities worldwide.) They withdrew it only in August 2010 - under reserve.

Due to globalization of markets a virus can spread world wide very rapidly. Therefore the WHO and the german Robert Koch Institute (RKI) still warn against the danger and expect a next pandemic influenza, due to the upcoming influenza season.
Therefore every single person should prepare for the possibility of an influenza pandemic either in working or private life. Regardless of other possibilities in fighting against the influenza, e.g. through medication or vaccination it is possible to reduce the transmission of influenza viruses by following simple hygenic rules and thus prevent an infection or at least restrict the possibility of an infection.
The vaccination against influenza is generally the most effective preventive measure to avoid an infection with the flu or to avert the creation of a new subtype.

The affects of influenza concern all people. The supply of food, energy, drinking water and other necessary goods and services as well as keeping up the public order and safety will partly be restricted and the medical resources and all appliances are threatened. The public transportation as well as the tourism will mostly be restricted or come to a complete standstill and the communication through newspapers, radio and television could be disrupted. The entire commerce will stagnate and the economic damage that is to be expected will take on a large scale. The accomplishment of a global pandemic is not only the concern of the public health authorities at federal or Federal State level. It is actually a problem of the entire population.

Many companies and community facilities will be effected and business interruptions are to be expected if approximately every second employee becomes ill, must take care of family members or stays away from work out of fear. Extremely high personnel and production losses are to be expected, the operations of transport and logistics companies will be restricted and all resources will only limitedly be available. In such a case almost 70 percent of the commercial enterprises will be hit by production losses and delivery problems. In view of the current condition and expert prognoses, companies as well as community facilities are well advised to prepare themselves for a scenario like that by installing an intern pandemic emergency plan.

In the last centuries influenza pandemics frequently occurred and especially in the 20th century three great influenza pandemics appeared which are still in people’s minds. The last pandemic (Spanish flu) appeared between 1918 and 1920. Since 500 million people were infected worldwide and 50 million died of this disease it is considered to be the worst influenza pandemic in the last century. It raged over two years. The "asian flu" in 1957 caused up to two million dead people and the “Hong Kong flu” about 1 million dead people. So the last pandemic happened about 40 years ago and experts agree that we are therefore long overdue and we could be on a brink of another pandemic.

Hence the question is not IF but WHEN the pandemic is about to strike and what consequences and virulence of the virus is to be feared.
Due to modern technology with its fast transportations, today’s closely interrelated and interdependent system of trade and commerce and the consequential rapid transmission of a virus, experts assume that the pandemic that is to come can exceed the number of casualties during the Spanish flu in 1918-1920 by far.
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