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DoDEA OSS: Pandemic Information


office-2col-pandemicIn the event of a pandemic there are actions we can take to help stop the spread of the virus. Supervisors, school administrators and school nurses should:

  • 1. be watchful for flu-like symptoms;
  • 2. review local pandemic influenza response plans;
  • 3. update all emergency phone numbers and POCs; and
  • 4. coordinate with the host military command and military medical authorities.

Those with flu-like symptoms should stay home from work, school and social gatherings. This can help prevent the spread of infection. Current recommendations are to maintain a distance of 6 feet between yourself and a person displaying symptoms of flu. Consult your health care provider if flu-like symptoms develop, especially for those personnel at a higher risk for complications of the flu.

All DoDEA staff and students are strongly encouraged to participate in the "Clean Hands" and "Cover Your Cough" campaign established by the CDC. This program is a preventive measure to help prevent the spread of the virus. Posters are available that can be printed for distribution around the work area and your schools. (See links below).

The CDC and the WHO take the lead in monitoring and advising the community on pandemics. Current information can be found on their websites at: www.cdc.gov/swineflu/general_info.htm and www.who.int/en/

An influenza pandemic is a global outbreak of disease that occurs when a new influenza A virus appears or "emerges" in the human population, causes serious illness, and then spreads easily from person to person worldwide. Pandemics are different from seasonal outbreaks or "epidemics" of influenza. Seasonal outbreaks are caused by subtypes of influenza viruses that already circulate among people, whereas pandemic outbreaks are caused by new subtypes, by subtypes that have never circulated among people, or by subtypes that have not circulated among people for a long time. Past influenza pandemics have led to high levels of illness, death, social disruption, and economic loss.

An influenza pandemic has the potential to cause more death and illness than any other public health threat. If a pandemic influenza virus with similar virulence to the 1918 strain emerged today, in the absence of intervention, it is estimated that 1.9 million Americans could die and almost 10 million could be hospitalized over the course of the pandemic, which may evolve over a year or more.

  • Pandemic Flu: An influenza pandemic is a global outbreak of disease that occurs when three conditions are met: a new influenza A virus appears or "emerges" in the human population, it causes serious illness in people, and it spreads easily from person to person worldwide.
  • Swine Flu: Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. Swine influenza viruses may circulate among swine throughout the year, but most outbreaks occur during the late fall and winter months similar to outbreaks in humans. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.
  • Seasonal Flu: Seasonal influenza (often called "the flu") is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses and occurs every year. It can cause mild to severe illness. The best protection against seasonal flu is vaccination.

In the century past, we have experienced influenza pandemics three times: as recently as 1968 and 1957 and what has been called the Great Influenza in 1918, a pandemic that killed 40-50 million people worldwide. Although the timing, nature and severity of the next pandemic cannot be predicted with any certainty, preparedness planning is imperative to lessen the impact of a pandemic.


Influenza (Flu) Viruses
  • Swine Flu
    This guidance recommends that students and staff with influenza-like illness remain home until 24 hours after resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. They should stay home even if they are using antiviral drugs.
  • Avian Flu
    Bird flu is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. These flu viruses occur naturally among birds. Wild birds worldwide carry the viruses in their intestines, but usually do not get sick from them.

Pandemic Resources:
Pandemic Documents
Director's Pandemic Memo Sept 09
Memo for all DoDEA staff
 
Pandemic Influenza Plan Guidelines - August 2009
Pandemic Influenza Plan Guidelines for DoDEA Schools has been designed as a fluid document. These guidelines will be constantly updated to incorporate the most recent information to assist schools.

Pandemic Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Avian influenza virus: This virus usually refers to influenza A viruses found chiefly in birds, but infections can occur in humans.
 
Los Angeles Times (September 23, 2011)
Study examines origins of Spanish flu outbreak
 
Towards A Safer World (TASW)
Beyond Pandemics: A Whole-Of-Society Approach to Disaster Preparedness
 
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Pandemics have occurred intermittently over centuries. Although the timing cannot be predicted, history and science suggest that we will face one or more pandemics in this century.