Pandemic Influenza


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 pandemic influenza.

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 Emergency Association.

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.


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