Tasmanian Health Action Plan for Pandemic Influenza

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The Tasmanian Health Action Plan for Pandemic Influenza 2016 describes the health sector's plans to deal with pandemic flu in Tasmania.

The plan sits within broader Tasmanian and national emergency management arrangements.

Flu pandemics

An influenza (flu) pandemic happens when a new flu virus emerges that most of the current population hasn't been exposed to before (see fact sheet).

Because it's a new virus, there is no vaccine and pre-existing community immunity may be absent or limited to small sections of the community.

The population is more vulnerable to such a virus than it is to seasonal flu viruses.

The subsequent human illness may spread quickly around the world causing worldwide epidemics or a pandemic, with potentially much higher morbidity and mortality rates than seasonal flu.

Season flu itself causes over 2 500 deaths in Australia each year.

There were three pandemics in the 20th century: the severe Spanish Flu (1918), the Asian Flu (1957–58) and the Hong Kong flu (1968–1970).

There has been one pandemic so far this century: the relatively mild H1N1 2009 pandemic ('swine flu').

As the virus that will cause the next pandemic is yet to emerge, the severity, transmissibility and impact are difficult to predict.

The impact will depend on a range of factors described in the Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza; however, even a mild or moderate pandemic (the most likely scenarios) may cause considerable impact on the community for several months.

Related preparedness documents

The Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-ahmppi.htm

The RACGP pandemic flu kit www.racgp.org.au/your-practice/business/tools/disaster/pandemics/

World Health Organization Pandemic Preparedness www.who.int/influenza/preparedness/pandemic/en/

March 2016