Key messages

An influenza pandemic occurs when a highly infectious new strain emerges for which humans have little or no immunity.
There are pandemic infuenza plans at the state, national and international level.
The Victorian Government's health management plan and action plan provide the framework for responding to pandemic influenza in Victoria.

An influenza pandemic occurs when a highly infectious new strain emerges for which humans have little or no immunity.

During a pandemic, the virus spreads rapidly around the world causing high rates of illness and death – and resulting in severe social and economic disruption. History has shown that pandemics tend to occur every 10-50 years.

Pandemic influenza plans

International plan

World Health Organization (WHO) - Pandemic Influenza Risk Management

The World Health Organization (WHO) has revised the approach to global phases in response to lessons learnt from the influenza A(H1N1) 2009 pandemic.

National plan

Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza

The Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza (AHMPPI) outlines Australia’s strategy to manage an influenza pandemic and minimise its impact on the health of Australians and our health system. The plan outlines the measures that the health sector would consider taking in response to an influenza pandemic. 

Victorian plans

Victorian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza - October 2014

The aim of the Victorian health management plan for pandemic influenza (VHMPPI) is to provide an effective health response framework to minimise transmissibility, morbidity and mortality associated with an influenza pandemic and its impacts on the health sector and community. The plan provides tools and strategies to support the health response framework. It will assist and advise the health sector in their response to an influenza pandemic. The plan describes activities needed to reduce the impact of an influenza pandemic in Victoria that includes:

  • surveillance systems to rapidly and efficiently identify the emergence of new strains of influenza in the Victorian community
  • timely implementation of measures seeking to limit or prevent the transmission of pandemic influenza in the various stages of a pandemic
  • continuing surveillance to monitor the status of the outbreak
  • maximising the use of resources
  • public health strategies to best meet the needs of the current situation based on the best surveillance data
  • informing staffing needs and requirements
  • implementing policies on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and antivirals
  • communicating accurate, consistent and comprehensive information about the situation to the general public, the media, our partners in the health sector and other key stakeholders.

Victorian Action Plan for Pandemic Influenza 2015

The Victorian action plan for pandemic influenza sets out Victoria’s approach for reducing the social and economic impacts and consequences of a pandemic influenza on communities. The Victorian action plan for pandemic influenza is for Victorian government departments and their agencies to use, however, other organisations, including local government, businesses and non-government organisations can also use the plan as a guide.

Hygiene and infection control resources

Although annual immunisation is the best way to avoid spreading the flu, another effective way to protect ourselves and others from illness is good personal hygiene.

Some of the principles of good personal hygiene include:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw your tissue in a plastic-lined rubbish bin after use.
Wash your hands with soap and water, and if water is unavailable use an alcohol-based hand cleaner after you cough or sneeze.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread that way.
Don’t go to work if you are unwell and don’t send your children to school or childcare if they are unwell.

(Cover your cough poster and Wash your hands regularly poster)