Influenza - type Disease (Pandemic)
A pandemic occurs when a new virus spreads easily from person to person.
A pandemic can occur at any time - the last being in 2009. Fortunately the virus caused only a mild flu illness in most people affected. A future pandemic virus may cause more severe illness.
If the virus causes severe illness:
- Health care and local authority social care systems may become overloaded.
- Normal life is likely to face wide disruption, particularly if staff shortages affect the supply of essential services, including production and transport of goods.
- Up to 750,000 additional deaths could occur in the UK by the end of a pandemic.
Who can be affected?
A pandemic is likely to occur in one or more waves, possibly weeks or months apart. Each wave may last around 15 weeks and up to half the UK population may be infected.
What are we doing in County Durham and Darlington?
We work together to plan for:
- Management of the demand on the NHS and social care.
- Distribution of anti-viral medication to the public.
- Vaccination with the newly developed pandemic vaccine once available.
- Public awareness.
- Making plans to deal with the potential number of deaths.
- Making sure individual organisations have their own business continuity plans in place to cope in times of staff shortage.
What can you do?
- Look out for and observe advice and NHS guidance, particularly about reducing the spread of illness.
- Identify a flu friend – who can collect your medication, food and other supplies allowing you to stay at home when ill.
- Keep small personal stocks of ‘over the counter’ cold and flu medication to help relieve your symptoms.
- Know the arrangements of your child’s school.
Where can you get further information?
- NHS website guidance [external link]
- NHS Direct - Dial: 111
- NHS Direct (Text Phone): 0845 6064647