Pandemic Influenza Planning
Beginning in Fall 2005, York University has been participating in discussions about Pandemic planning with representatives of GTA postsecondary institutions and other organizations and agencies. Additionally, an internal University steering committee, working with representatives of Toronto Public Health, has commenced the development of a Pandemic Influenza Plan for York. The University’s plan is being designed to parallel the World Health Organization’s model of Alert Phases for a Pandemic, upon which Toronto Public Health has also prepared its plan.
Outbreaks of influenza have been known to occur for centuries, and three influenza pandemics have occurred in the previous century alone – the Spanish (1918), Asian (1957) and Hong Kong (1968) pandemics. These pandemics resulted in reported numbers of deaths in the millions across continents and world-wide.
International health experts are predicting that another pandemic influenza will occur although the timing and pattern of the pandemic is unpredictable. When it does, the impact could be extensive, with millions in Ontario anticipated to be infected and possibly thousands succumbing to the disease. Clearly, it is important for institutions and businesses to prepare for this possibility.
Work has occurred at the federal level that has resulted in the development of a contingency plan, which reflects the role of the federal government in a pandemic influenza response. Similarly, at the provincial level, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has undertaken a planning process in collaboration with various stakeholders for an Ontario response to a pandemic influenza.
Given the federal and provincial forecasts, municipalities across Ontario need to prepare for such an outbreak and Toronto Public Health has recently completed a Pandemic Influenza Plan, with the involvement of numerous medical and health experts, emergency response agencies, and non-government (outreach/ service) organizations.
Further communication about York University’s pandemic planning will be available through updates to this web page and in announcements to the University community through Y-file and Y-life in the months ahead.
York University Pandemic Influenza Plan: link