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Infectious Diseases

Pandemic Influenza

  • Influenza is a serious respiratory illness.
  • A pandemic is a worldwide outbreak of disease in humans.
  • An influenza pandemic can happen when a new type of influenza virus develops that humans have no immunity against.

There have been three flu pandemics in the last century, with the most severe being the 1918-19 Spanish Flu, which killed 20 to 40 million people worldwide. The most recent was the human swine influenza (H1N1) pandemic in 2009/10. 

Based on experience with past pandemics, it was expected that the H1N1 virus would take on the behaviour of a seasonal influenza virus and continue to circulate for some years to come.


Local Planning

In Ontario, the local Medical Officer of Health (MOH) has specific functions to lead or carry out, with the assistance of the health unit, in the event of an influenza pandemic. Learn more about the full role of public health in the event of an influenza pandemic.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has created a local pandemic influenza plan. As well, all health care agencies and emergency response partners in Simcoe and Muskoka have collaborated with the health unit to create a coordinated regional pandemic influenza plan.

The health unit plan, regional plan, provincial, national and global plans are all designed to work together to minimize suffering, illness and social disruption in a flu pandemic.

In this section you will find links to provincial and national plans, and related topics and web sites providing both in-depth and up-to-date information about the ongoing planning for an influenza pandemic.


Pandemic Influenza Plans

WHO Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response 

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care


Other Resources

The role of public health in an influenza pandemic – A summary of the mandate given to health units by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

PHAC Pandemic Preparedness  -- Information for you, your family, travelers, health professionals and businesses.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Information about Influenza Pandemics – includes key facts about flu pandemics, the avian influenza virus (bird flu) and more

Business Continuity Planning Template – A planning guide for businesses created by the Halton Region Health Department.


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