Epidemics, pandemics, outbreaks — these technical terms refer to the spread and severity by which we can be impacted by infectious disease. Of all, pandemics are the most destructive, affecting human populations around the globe. In recent years, the World Health Organization has turned its attention to the H1N1 virus and its permutations. The organization's six-phased approach helps governments incorporate the WHO's recommendations into national preparedness and response plans.
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From phase 1, where only animals are infected with a disease holding pandemic potential, to phase 4 "human community-level outbreaks", to phase 6 where the disease is now verified in multiple countries, this kind of classification helps disaster management teams make plans to protect us. Not surprisingly, these plans rely heavily on the practice of universal precautions.
H1N1 also prompted the Centers for Disease Control to create a "pandemic severity index" in 2007. According to their press release at the time:
"The tool, a Pandemic Severity Index (PSI), takes into account the fact that the amount of harm caused by pandemics can vary greatly, with that variability having an impact on recommended public health, school and business actions.
The PSI, which is modeled after the approach used to characterize hurricanes, has five different categories of pandemics, with a category 1 representing moderate severity and a category 5 representing the most severe. The severity of pandemic is primarily determined by its death rate, or the percentage of infected people who die. A category 1 pandemic is as harmful as a severe seasonal influenza season, while a pandemic with the same intensity of the 1918 flu pandemic, or worse, would be classified as category 5."
In today's blog post infographic are some interesting facts about historical pandemics that changed the world. The numbers of casualties are truly staggering.
ASHI, MEDIC First Aid, and Summit Training Source encourage you to use universal precautions in emergency care or workplace situations that leave you vulnerable to any sort of infection. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and some simple best practices like frequent handwashing are easy to implement and easy to learn. If you or your employees need training in universal precautions or other health and safety issues, check out our "find a training class" feature on our website.