(Brampton) – The Region of Peel has been working with the federal, provincial and local levels of government to prepare for a potential pandemic influenza. Pandemic influenza occurs when a new highly infectious strain of the influenza virus appears and spreads quickly around the world. No one knows when the next pandemic might occur, and scientists from the World Health Organization are monitoring the new viruses around the globe.
“Peel Public Health has developed a pandemic influenza management plan, which outlines our roles and responsibilities during the planning and response phases of pandemic influenza. In addition, we have been actively working with key partners to educate and consult with them on the development of their own pandemic plans,” says Dr. Hanif Kassam, the Region of Peel Medical Officer of Health.
In early March, Peel Public Health hosted forums for local physicians to educate them about pandemic influenza and raise awareness about pandemic planning. Peel Public Health and Peel Regional Emergency Programs within the Region of Peel are working together to engage key stakeholders, including three local municipalities, in the development of a regional coordinated response.
Everyone can prepare for emergencies and take measures to reduce the risk of infection, including:
- Maintaining one week of essential supplies
- Developing your own personal and family preparedness plan
- Getting your annual flu shot and keeping your immunizations up to date
- Practising good respiratory etiquette including:
- covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and disposing of used tissues in the garbage, or
- coughing into elbow or sleeve instead of on your hand
- Washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner:
- after sneezing or coughing
- after wiping your nose
- before handling or eating food
- after using the toilet
- whenever hands are dirty
- Staying at home when you are sick
For more information on Pandemic Influenza and how to reduce the risk of infection, please call the Region of Peel at 905-799-7700.
The Region of Peel has also created the Peel Regional Emergency Program (PREP), which provides information to help individuals and families prepare for any emergency.
Local businesses can visit Account for Health website or the Region of Peel Pandemic Influenza website for information on Business Continuity Planning and Pandemic Influenza.