Pandemic Influenza (Flu)

Pandemic flu is a worldwide outbreak of influenza. Many governments and agencies, including Halton Region, has been busy developing emergency plans for how they will respond to the impact of the next pandemic flu when it happens.

This web page provides useful information about pandemic flu, and links to various resources, including Halton Region’s Response Plan to Pandemic Flu Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)242KB.

What is pandemic flu?

  • Pandemic flu is a worldwide outbreak of influenza.
  • It happens when a new, highly contagious strain of flu virus appears in people, spreads and causes the flu worldwide.
  • Pandemic flu seems to appear every 10 - 40 years.
  • In the 20th century we experienced 3 pandemics.
  • The Spanish flu of 1918 killed more than 20 million people worldwide. Since then, smaller pandemics have occurred in 1957 and 1968. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel H1N1 influenza virus a pandemic, as of June, 2009

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What will the effect of pandemic flu be in Halton?

  • It is predicted up to 35% of the population could be affected over the course of the pandemic causing much disruption in the community.
  • Many people will be very ill in bed for many days or caring for family ill with the flu. Businesses will be impacted.
  • Health care services will be severely burdened. Emergency workers including police, fire, ambulance, and health care workers will be in high demand and many may also be ill themselves.

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What is being done to reduce the impact of the pandemic?

  • Health Canada has developed a Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan for the Health Sector External Link that details how Canada needs to prepare for and respond to pandemic flu.
  • Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has also developed an Influenza Pandemic Plan External Link based on international and national standards.
  • At the local level, Halton Region has developed a Halton Region’s Response Plan to Pandemic Flu (Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)242KB) that will be reviewed and updated as new information becomes available.
  • Halton Region has been educating and assisting municipalities, health care organizations, emergency services, and local businesses as they develop their own plans.

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Is there a vaccine available for the pandemic?

  • During a pandemic, the new flu virus will be different from the flu viruses we have had in the past.
  • A new vaccine will have to be made once the new flu virus has been identified.
  • It will likely take at least 4 - 6 months to make a vaccine.

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Where can I get information about the flu?

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    Pandemic Flu Planning Resources

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