Sunday, 26 April 2009

Manitoba and the Flu Pandemic

With the WHO declaring that the situation surrounding swine influenza A(H1N1) is now a public health emergency of international concern, (see the alert index), we've not heard the last of this outbreak in the news.

For most, an influenza pandemic is not something that they have direct experience with. The last major one was was the Hong Kong Flu outbreak of 1968 - 69.

Of course, the pandemic that is spoken about the most is the "Spanish" Flu of 1918 that devastated most parts of the world, including many communities in Manitoba.

A while back I did a little essay on the impact of the "Spanish" Flu in Manitoba, you can read it here. Even though it's almost a century later, should H1N1 spread to Manitoba communities many of the same actions will likely be needed.

UPDATE: 26 April '09

For some Modern Day links and information....

Since SARS and the potential threat from H5N1 Avian Influenza, the world has come a long way in updating their public health plans to include pandemic flu preparedness. Most jurisdictions and many large companies have plans in place. Some Manitoba Pandemic Flu resources:

WRHA Pandemic Plan (Note: parts of the site are "under construction" - which is an unfortunate bit of timing considering, well, you know....)

City of Brandon

Government of Manitoba

University of Manitoba

Public Health Agency of Canada: Fight Flu Website

Canada (general)

Canada (for health sector employees)



Reference Docs and news:


Stimpson said...

I suppose the spread would be much faster than in 1918 if we get a pandemic this year, what with so much international travel. You have to wonder how effective any pandemic-fighting policies would be today, unless they involved unpopular restrictions on people's 'freedoms.'

Stimpson said...

Er ... don't know why i put inverted commas around freedoms. Just meant to say a pandemic would raise the possibility of unpopular restrictions (as in 1918). That's all.

mrchristian said...

I get where you're coming from. It would be an interesting battle between people's right to gather in public, not be locked up under quarantine vs. their freedoms to do whatever they want. That has certainly changed since 1918.