What Is A Pandemic, And If There Is A Swine Flu Pandemic Should I Be Doing Anything Differently?

Question: What is a pandemic, and if there is a swine flu pandemic should I be doing anything differently?

Answer: It's probably important for people to first understand what a pandemic is. So if one goes to the World Health Organization a pandemic is defined by meeting three criteria: We have emergence of a disease that is new to a population; the agent infects humans and results in serious illness; and that agent is then easily spread amongst populations.

And so what's happened now is the World Health Organization has identified that this disease is being spread in different regions across the world and therefore they've raised the alert level to phase six. The phase six designation is really driving governmental decision making about issues associate with travel and perhaps access and trade barriers and these sorts of things but it in no way affects how individuals should carry about their activities day-to-day.

There are some simple, basic, very powerful preventive measures that people can carry out day to day and those things don't change. Also important to understand that the phase six definition does not speak to anything about changing and the disease being more virulent or something like this. It's really a governmental decision trigger point to look at things such as travel and trade and the like.