An influenza pandemic occurs when a highly infectious new strain emerges that humans have no immunity to. The difficulty responding to pandemics is the isolation they cause; normal emergency assistance is hampered by the need to limit exposure to infection. During these outbreaks vulnerable residents should limit exposure by stocking up on necessary items such as medication, food and water.
During a pandemic, the virus spreads rapidly around the world causing high rates of illness and death.
Melton City Council, as part of its emergency management planning, has developed an Influenza Management Plan assist in dealing with a pandemic influenza emergency.
Influenza is a respiratory viral infection transmitted from person to person through the transmission of droplets which contain the influenza virus.
The influenza virus is very common among humans. Its symptoms include:
- chills, shivering and a fever (temperatures greater than 38oC)
- onset of Muscle aches and pains
- sore throat
- dry cough
- breathing difficulties
- stuffy or runny nose
Infection control and basic precautions
The Influenza virus can travel through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. It is advised that you:
- cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing (preferably with a disposable single-use tissue)
- turn away from other people while coughing or sneezing
- dispose of tissues in the nearest waste receptacle after use
- wash hands as soon as is practical after coughing, sneezing or touching used tissues.
Influenza can be transmitted by indirect contact with hands and items that have been in contact with an infected person or surfaces.
By frequent washing with soap and water or alcohol-based products germs from these sources can be washed away. This is especially important:
- before eating
- after going to the toilet
- after coughing, sneezing or blowing nose
- after being in contact with someone who has a cold
- before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
The Victorian Department of Health has released an pandemic influenza (flu) information sheet for the general public, available below: