A pandemic influenza
is a virulent, or highly lethal, human flu virus that causes a global
outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural
immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person. It is
dangerous because people have no natural antibodies to fight the infection,
and since it is a new strain, there are no vaccines. Currently, there is no
Pandemics occur in
cycles, approximately every 40 - 50 years. The 1918 influenza virus
(Spanish Flu) was the deadliest in recent history, infecting 30 percent of
the world’s population and killing up to 40 million individuals,
particularly young people. In just the first five weeks of that outbreak in
West Virginia, there were 2300 cases reported and 200 deaths. Smaller
pandemics have occurred in 1957 and 1968. By all estimates, the world is
overdue for an influenza pandemic.
The Public Service
Commission of West Virginia wants to assist utilities operating in West
Virginia, and other businesses to develop continuity of operations plans so that
when a pandemic occurs you are ready. On this page are many resources which
can help businesses prepare their plans.
A letter from
West Virginia Governor, Joe Manchin III, and West Virginia Public Service Commission Chairman, Jon W. McKinney,
addressing the issues of a Pandemic.
Pandemic Preparedness Checklist for Utilities and Businesses, a step-by-step planning process written by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, recently updated to include information on swine flu.
Pandemic Flu Brochure - information on planning and preparation.
Influenza Pandemic Planning, Preparation, and Response Reference Guide, written by the North American Electric Reliability Council.
Utilities Helping Utilities, An Action Plan for Mutual Aid and Assistance Networks for Water/Wastewater
Utilities, written by Kevin Morley, American Water Works Association and
Ray Riordin, California Utilities
A comprehensive guide to Pandemic Influenza: Preparedness, Response and Recovery Guide for Critical Infrastructure
and Key Resources, developed by the US Department of Homeland Security.
Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist,developed by the US Department
of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control.