The following strategies are useful to enable child care programs for a pandemic or seasonal influenza outbreak. It’s clear from Toronto’s experience with SARS that we cannot afford to wait and see what happens before we prepare for the next pandemic. Because of the nature of the virus and the effective responses of global health officials, SARS was short-lived. We will not be nearly so lucky should the avian influenza become a human pandemic.
Antiviral agents can be used to prevent influenza, for example in the early stages of a pandemic. But, again, until the virus starts circulating it is not possible to know how effective antivirals will be, or the best way to use them. The federal government’s official pandemic influenza site at the Department of Health and Human Services.
However, annual outbreaks of seasonal influenza cause between 290,000 and 650,000 deaths per year globally. The death rates are lower because (a) vaccines are available (b) healthcare and hygiene is vastly superior than conditions a century ago and (c) the viruses that cause seasonal flu are less dangerous – and less likely to be fatal to those infected.
Because people have little or no immune protection from such new viruses, there can be high levels of illness, death, social disruption, and economic loss. The last major flu pandemic occurred in 1918 and killed as many as 40 million people worldwide, including more than 500,000 in the United States.
The CDC has developed a Pandemic Severity Index , with categories of increasing severity (Category 1 to Category 5). It uses a ratio to estimate the number of expected deaths. Similar to preparing for a hurricane, this index helps communities with pandemic preparedness and planning.
Then, a second wave of influenza began in September 1918 at Camp Devens, an Army camp near Boston, but no one seemed to realize how bad it was, or how to treat it. During any period of increased alert and throughout the response phase, the objectives are to promote and reinforce individual and collective actions that reduce the spread of influenza and minimise its health and wider impact on the UK.
Until recently, experts believed that the next pandemic would evolve from the highly pathogenic H5H1 virus and cripple the nation. Fortunately, H1N1 2009 was a much less pathogenic virus than anticipated. The H1N1 2009 was found to be no more contagious than the seasonal flu, with a global attack rate of between 11% -21%, and the severity index was no more severe than the normal seasonal flu. Most people recovered from infection without the need for hospitalization or medical care. Although high levels of disease occurred in some local areas and institutions, overall hospitals and health care systems in most countries were able to cope with the numbers of people seeking care.
3. However, health officials can deploy numerous safeguards that did not exist 100 years ago. For instance, scientists can implement systems to detect potential Pandemic Information outbreaks worldwide, concoct vaccines faster and provide better antiviral drugs than previous generations due to readily evolving technology.