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Influenza Pandemic Emergency Plan

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Impacts of a pandemic

What is an epidemic?

What is an influenza?

Information about the A/H1N1-Virus

WHO-pandemic levels

Symptoms and danger of infection

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Information about the A/H1N1-Virus (Swine flu)

The current influenza virus H1N1 has already been noticed before. It appeared twice in the past already and caused every time global infections (pandemic) along with millions of deaths.

1918-1920
the H1N1 virus was the excitant of the Spanish flu which seemed to be relatively “harmless” after the first wave of the disease with approx. 150 deaths. But the second wave of the disease caused about 40-50 million casualties. And this even without the global network and tourism we have today.

1977 – 1978
the H1N1 virus appeared as the so-called Russian flu and back then over 700,000 people died worldwide. At that time nobody talked about a pandemic since the virus infected mostly young people up to 23 years and not people of all age groups.

Currently in April 2009
a new subtype of the H1N1 virus appeared with initially a few hundred infections in Mexico. According to the WHO almost all countries are affected by now. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands disease cases and thousands of deaths are reported (august 2009).
Experts agree that this virus will continue to spread further on and even today the actual estimated number of unknown cases is estimated to be 10 to 20 times higher worldwide. Almost daily the numbers duplicate globally and the WHO has stopped the acquisition of all infections. By the end of the holiday season and the beginning of the seasonal influenza in autumn, the second wave will start and it is to be feared that the A/H1N1 virus will combine itself with the regular influenza or mutate.

Why pig flu?
As early as 1930 the H1N1 virus has first been identified as a cause of disease in pigs, but in those cases it has not been lethal. But the recently appeared subtype of the H1N1 virus has further developed and is now a composition of strains from pigs, birds and humans. Therefore it is transmitted from human to human.
A lot of people admittedly get infected by the standard seasonal flu/influenza every year and many thousands die (mostly people with immunodeficiency or with pre-existing conditions) but through a regular influenza vaccination a global transmission could have always been contained so far.

But for the current subtype A/H1N1 is no vaccination available yet which could prevent any further transmission. An appropriate vaccination will possibly be available in a few months which means that until then the disease can spread further without being hindered.

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