What is an Influenza Pandemic?
Influenza viruses regularly mutate or change slightly. That’s why it’s
necessary to get a new flu shot each year, since the viruses circulating in the
population change. However, 3-4 times each century, a completely new flu virus appears,
unrelated to any previously circulating viruses. When this happens, no one has any
immunity and the virus spreads rapidly around the globe, infecting and killing millions
of people. This is known as a pandemic.
In the last century there were three pandemics, during the years of 1918-1919, 1957-1958
and 1968-1969. The 1918 pandemic caused at least 20 million deaths worldwide, including
50,000 in Canada. The two later pandemics were much milder, but still killed 2 million
and 1 million people worldwide, respectively, including 7,000 and 4,000 Canadians
For the first time in over 40 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an influenza pandemic. This declaration reflects greater spread of the H1N1 flu virus. Although the severity of the cases to date has been mild, H1N1 could mutate at any time to a more virulent strain. See the sections below for more information on pandemic planning for your workplace.
H1N1 Flu Virus (Human Swine Influenza)
Human swine influenza has been reported in Canada, Mexico and the United States,
and several other countries. Governments around the world and the World Health Organization
are engaged to investigate and address this situation.
Swine influenza (sometimes called swine flu) is a strain of the influenza virus
that usually affects pigs, but which may also make people sick. Human swine influenza
is a respiratory illness that causes symptoms similar to those of the regular human
seasonal flu. The symptoms include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, coughing
and sore throat. Some people with human swine influenza have also reported
vomiting and diarrhea.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), there are simple measures
to minimize the risk of being infected. These steps include simply washing your
hands, controlling coughs and sneezes, staying home when sick, and talking to a
health professional if you experience flu-like symptoms.
The PHAC is working collaboratively with Mexican and American officials to further
investigate this situation and will share information with Canadians as it becomes
H1N1 Flu Virus Resources
Health Canada advises business owners of a phone scam
November 28, 2006
OTTAWA - Health Canada advises business owners to beware of phone callers saying
that Health Canada has a new requirement that all businesses must purchase a “health
care kit” or “pandemic kit” for $299. There is no requirement
for such a kit; nor does Health Canada have such a kit for sale.
Health Canada advises anyone receiving such a call to contact the Phonebusters anti-fraud
program on their Web site (http://www.phonebusters.com) or at 1-888-495-8501.
Pandemic Planning: Is Your Business Ready?
Would your business survive if up to half of your employees were absent and
you didn't receive the usual "just in time" supplies that you need for
delivery of your products and services? With the recent declaration of the World Health Organization that we're now experiencing an influenza pandemic, only one question remains -- "how bad will it be?"
In this session you will learn how infectious
diseases spread and what businesses can do to protect employees and critical processes.
The session will outline what you should be doing this year and every year to protect
your employees from infectious diseases; and also the steps you should be taking
to prepare for a pandemic, to ensure your business remains operational.
Don't wait until it's too late. Start your planning now!
This course is delivered on-site. Call 1-800-406-IAPA (4272) for pricing information
and to arrange a session to meet your needs.
IAPA Free Downloads
Influenzas and the Pandemic Threat (752
Millions of people get the flu in Canada each year. Most recover in one or two weeks, but each year up to 2,000 Canadians die from the flu or complications such as pneumonia. In an influenza pandemic, those numbers will be much higher. Health Canada estimates 50% of Canadians will be infected and between 11,000 and 58,000 Canadians may die depending on the severity of the strain. This FAQ will answer questions about human influenza, influenza and animals, pandemic predictions, workplace precautions and planning, and travel issue.
Publication Date: June 2009
Business Pandemic Preparedness - Sample Checklist (62
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care estimates that during the next
pandemic about 8,000 Ontarians will die, but the number could be as high as 20,000.
Is your business prepared for a pandemic? Use this sample checklist to assess your
Publication Date: December 2006
Colds and the Flu - Frequently Asked Questions (111
Is influenza the same as a bad cold? How do colds and the flu spread? Should I get
the flu vaccine? Find out the answers to these and eight other commonly asked questions
in this FAQ document.
Publication Date: June 2006
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