Information on the FLU

Key Things You Should Know About Influenza Pandemics:

■Pandemics occur when new flu viruses causing human disease spread widely across the globe.
■Pandemics come in many levels of severity, from relatively mild (like the pandemic seen in 1968, similar to what is seen with seasonal flu) to very severe (like what was seen in 1918).
■Appropriate actions to take in a novel flu virus outbreak or pandemic should be
•scaled to the severity of disease being seen at the time and
•adapted for the stage of disease spread (recognition, initiation, acceleration, peak, deceleration) within a community.
■Even in less severe pandemics or novel disease outbreaks, it is always good to keep in mind that flu viruses can change and disease severity increase or decrease over time. In addition, new flu viruses capable of causing a severe pandemic can emerge at any time.

Recognizing that it is wise to have a plan for the most challenging of situations, this site has tools and materials that focus on planning for a more severe pandemic (one similar to that seen in the US in 1918). Many of the concepts and principles, however, can be applied to less severe pandemics as well. In addition, many of the actions recommended can help overall preparedness for any emergency (floods, ice, storms, hurricanes, other disease outbreaks, etc.). The site contains tools and guidances for many different groups - businesses, schools, healthcare, local communities, government, individuals and families. Response to a pandemic, be it mild or severe, requires action and preparedness on everyone's part, for all play a role in slowing down disease spread and reducing the impact on our communities.

West Virginia state government and most West Virginia communities have been planning for an influenza pandemic for several years now. The State's overarching response plan for a flu pandemic can be found by clicking here. Agency or community specific response plans rest within applicable agencies and community organizations. In addition, all West Virginia families are encouraged to have a basic family emergency plan, including information and tools you might need for managing in an influenza pandemic.