A Pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus, to which people have no immunity, emerges and starts spreading as easily as normal influenza. The Department of Health is working to support NHS preparedness and to reduce the impact of pandemic flu on the UK population.
Influenza pandemics are natural phenomena which occurred three times in the last century. Their severity has ranged from something similar to seasonal influenza to a major threat, with many millions of people worldwide becoming ill and a proportion of these dying. As well as their potential to cause serious harm to human health, they threaten wider social and economic damage and disruption.
Although it is highly likely that another influenza pandemic will occur at some time, it is impossible to forecast its exact timing or the precise nature of its impact. It is likely that a pandemic will originate abroad, it will probably affect the UK within two to four weeks of becoming an epidemic in its country of origin, and could then take only one or two more weeks to spread to all major population centres in the UK.
Within Dudley the Office of Public Health are working with other partner agencies to ensure that the area is prepared for the onset of a pandemic.