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What are the phases of pandemics and what do they mean?

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The World Health Organization (WHO) provides an influenza pandemic alert system, with a scale ranging from Phase 1 (a low risk of a flu pandemic) to Phase 6 (a full-blown pandemic):

  • Phase 1: A virus in animals has caused no known infections in humans.
  • Phase 2: An animal flu virus has caused infection in humans.
  • Phase 3: Sporadic cases or small clusters of disease occur in humans. Human-to-human transmission, if any, is insufficient to cause community-level outbreaks.
  • Phase 4: The risk for a pandemic is greatly increased but not certain.
  • Phase 5: Spread of disease between humans is occurring in more than one country of one WHO region.
  • Phase 6: Community-level outbreaks are in at least one additional country in a different WHO region from phase 5. A global pandemic is under way.

SOURCES:

World Health Organization: “Disease Outbreaks.”

World Health Organization: “Ten things you need to know about pandemic influenza.”

PandemicFlu.gov: “Planning & Response - Swine Flu.”

PandemicFlu.gov: “Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation.”

PandemicFlu.gov: “Individuals and Families Planning.”

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on April 2, 2020

SOURCES:

World Health Organization: “Disease Outbreaks.”

World Health Organization: “Ten things you need to know about pandemic influenza.”

PandemicFlu.gov: “Planning & Response - Swine Flu.”

PandemicFlu.gov: “Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation.”

PandemicFlu.gov: “Individuals and Families Planning.”

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on April 2, 2020

From: Pandemics

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