Link to complete West Virginia bird flu plan
WEST VIRGINIA INFLUENZA PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS STRATEGY
Preparing for an Influenza Pandemic can make a difference.
Pandemics happen. They cause widespread disease, death, and social disruption. They vary widely in severity and their timing cannot be predicted; however, we know that we are overdue and underprepared. Advance preparations can reduce the number of people who become ill or die and can minimize the economic and community infrastructure impacts. They can make weathering a pandemic better, but by no means easy.
Pandemic Flu planning should build upon and strengthen all hazard planning already well underway at local, regional, and state levels in West Virginia.
State government, local governments, communities, and many individual citizens have been working hard on advancing all-hazard preparedness over the past several years in WV communities. Much of this work will assist with pandemic response. Pandemic influenza planning should advance broader all hazard planning.
Preparing for an Influenza Pandemic should help us better address annual influenza seasons in WV.
• Based on national estimates, influenza results in at least 1500 hospitalizations and over 200 deaths per year in West Virginia. It results in between $6 million and $18 million dollars in direct costs for health care.
• Given the fact that West Virginia is one of the oldest states in the nation and has a very high percentage of individuals with chronic disease, the burden of flu may be disproportionate in this state.
• Recent years have seen significant challenges in vaccine manufacturing, supply and timely distribution.
Influenza Pandemic Preparedness must be based on sustainable systems and activities.
Pandemics happen at sporadic intervals several times a century (typically between 10 and 40 years). While H5N1 is a serious virus, it is by no means certain that it will evolve into a pandemic strain of virus. The next pandemic could evolve anywhere from several months to many years from now. What does appear certain is that it will eventually happen.
Responsibility for preparing and for responding to Pandemic Influenza spans all levels and sectors
Governmental entities, health care, business, faith based organizations, schools and universities, volunteer groups, and individuals all have very critical roles to play in pandemic as well as other emergency preparedness. While federal and state agencies play critical roles in preparedness and response, emergencies arise and response is operationalized at the local level. Individuals have significant responsibility as well. Pandemics, like other natural disasters can be catastrophic events. Neither federal, state, nor local governments will be able to address all needs, resources will be insufficient, and decisions complex.