Emergency Response Procedures: Responding to Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning the public that we may be in for a particularly bad flu season this year.

The flu is caused by many different strains of the flu virus. Some tend to be pretty mild, while others are really nasty. The bad news, according to CDC Director Tom Frieden, is that one of the nasty strains – called H3N2 – is showing up all over the place this year.

Even though we often don’t think of flu season as being particularly dangerous, it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the CDC estimates that over the last 10 years, an average of nearly 33,000 people per year die from the flu in the United States alone. Unfortunately, H3N2 viruses tend to be associated with more severe flu seasons, and the rate of hospitalization and death can be twice as high as or more than in flu seasons when H3 doesn’t predominate.

With Ebola outbreaks grabbing the headlines in recent months and in anticipation of a potentially rough flu season this winter, now is a good time to remember that our Emergency Response Procedures flipbook provides detailed guidelines on how to respond to crises such as pandemic outbreaks so you can respond appropriately as they occur.

This resource also covers topics ranging from human-centric events such as armed robbery and bomb threats to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and landslides.

LEARN THESE TERMS

Seasonal Influenza: A highly contagious respiratory illness that affects up to 20 percent of Americans annually
Pandemic Influenza: Any novel variety of flu (Swine, Avian, etc.) that spreads globally
Pandemic: Any disease which spreads rapidly throughout the world, including flu, SARS, HIV, etc.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

  1. Maintain proper pandemic supplies
  2. Promote health and hygiene at your workplace
  3. Encourage employees to receive flu shots
  4. If your facility is open to the public, consider yourself at heightened risk

PANDEMIC SPECIFIC WEB RESOURCES

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov
  • Flu.gov (Dept. of Health and Human Services) www.flu.gov
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