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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Improving the health, safety, and well-being of America
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HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan
Home: HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan
Visit PandemicFlu.gov for one-stop access to U.S. Government avian and pandemic flu information. HHS is responsible for Pandemic Influenza Planning, outlined below.
In 1999, the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat published guidance for pandemic influenza and defined the phases of a pandemic. Updated guidance was published in 2005 to redefine these phases. This schema is designed to provide guidance to the international community and to national governments on preparedness and response for pandemic threats and pandemic disease. Compared with the 1999 phases, the new definitions place more emphasis on pre-pandemic phases when pandemic threats may exist in animals or when new influenza virus subtypes infect people but do not spread efficiently. Recognizing that distinctions between the two interpandemic phases and the three pandemic alert phases may be unclear, the WHO Secretariat proposes to base classification on assessment of risk based on a range of scientific and epidemiological data.
Recognizing that at any pandemic phase, national situations will differ based on whether a country is affected or not affected by the novel influenza subtype, the WHO Secretariat recommends “national subdivisions” of phases based on whether a country is experiencing disease or has extensive trade and travel links with an affected country. National subdivisions of phases will be designated by national authorities. In the United States, pandemic phases will be defined based on the global phase and determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. During the pandemic phase, additional subdivisions may be defined based on the extent of disease. In actual practice, the distinction between the various phases of pandemic influenza may be blurred or occur in a matter of hours, again underscoring the need for flexibility.
Table C-1: Summary of WHO Global Pandemic Phases (WHO Global Influenza Preparedness Plan, 2005)
Phase 1. No new influenza virus subtypes have been detected in humans. An influenza virus subtype that has caused human infection may be present in animals. If present in animals, the risk of human infection or disease is considered to be low
Phase 2. No new influenza virus subtypes have been detected in humans. However, a circulating animal influenza virus subtype poses a substantial risk of human disease
Pandemic Alert Period
Phase 3. Human infection(s) with a new subtype but no human-to-human spread or at most rare instances of spread to a close contact
Phase 4. Small cluster(s) with limited human-to-human transmission but spread is highly localized, suggesting that the virus is not well adapted to humans
Phase 5. Larger cluster(s) but human-to-human spread is still localized, suggesting that the virus is becoming increasingly better adapted to humans but may not yet be fully transmissible (substantial pandemic risk)
Phase 6. Pandemic phase: increased and sustained transmission in the general population
Return to the Interpandemic Period (Phase 1)
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services · 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. · Washington, D.C. 20201
Pandemic Portal .Ca
The purpose of this project is to develop a training and preparation framework for managing severe respiratory illness such as pandemic influenza for hospitals in Ontario.
A comprehensive learning portal complete with educational material, templates and assistive materials to permit hospitals to plan effectively for a pandemic of severe respiratory illness is being developed.
The audience for this pandemic learning portal includes both frontline healthcare workers who will be providing services during a pandemic and the managers and clinical leaders who are charged with preparing for an unknown pandemic and putting into place the appropriate guidelines, processes and safety procedures to be followed during a pandemic. In particular, close attention is paid to the needs of smaller and rural hospitals that have unique challenges in planning for a pandemic.
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