Brochure forwarded by Scout Leader Cedric Salafia
Influenza Pandemic is a flu that spreads rapidly to affect almost all countries and regions around the world. Influenza pandemics occur when a new strain of influenza virus appears to which most people have no immunity against. They generally affect a larger number of people; they cause more severe illness and result in a more serious disruption to society than the ‘ordinary’ flu seen each winter.
Because the pandemic flu occurs when a new strain of influenza virus emerges which is significantly different from the everyday circulating strains, these changes cannot be predicted in the same way as the changes in ‘ordinary’ flu viruses. Therefore, a vaccine specifically against the new strain cannot be developed in advance.
Typical features of a pandemic flu are that it occurs infrequently (three during the last century), it can occur at any time of the year, affects about 25% or more of the population and is a more serious infection for everyone. Also, people of any age bracket may be at risk of serious illness and some people will not recover even with medical treatment. Due to the higher severity of illness there is a greater risk of death.
Like the rest of the world, Malta is preparing for a possible eventual influenza pandemic. WHO has said it is not a matter of IF but WHEN the next pandemic will start.
Source: Ministry for Social Policy, Health, the Elderly and Comunity Care