State of Alaska: Division of Public Health: Pandemic Influenza Response Plan [2008]   [open pdf - 551KB]

"Influenza pandemics occur when there is a major change in the structure of a strain of influenza virus such that most (or all) of the world's population is vulnerable to infection. These major changes emerge by at least two mechanisms: genetic recombination and adaptive mutation. [...]. At some point in the future, the world will be faced with another pandemic caused by a novel strain of influenza virus that spreads rapidly and causes extraordinarily high rates of illness and death--higher, in fact, than virtually any other natural health threat. Because novel influenza viruses have the potential to spread rapidly, high levels of absenteeism in the workforce can quickly jeopardize essential community services, including health care services throughout affected regions. Furthermore, it is currently estimated that it will only take one to six months from the time the pandemic is identified to the time that the first outbreak will occur in Alaska, provided the pandemic does not start in Alaska. Because no one can predict exactly when or where the next influenza pandemic will occur, and little time will be available to prepare after the pandemic is first identified, it is critically important for us to promptly maximize our ability to respond effectively to this imminent threat."

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