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Pandemic flu

A pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus, which people have no immunity to, emerges and starts spreading as easily as normal influenza. The Department of Health is working to support NHS preparedness and to reduce the impact of pandemic flu on the UK population.

This is generic guidance intended to assist in preparing for a pandemic whose nature and severity is unknown. Although much of the content remains relevant in the current swine flu pandemic, some aspects, particularly those relating to at risk groups and those intended to respond to higher levels of sickness and mortality may not be applicable to the current swine flu situation.  Therefore, the guidance should be read in conjunction with the latest swine flu UK planning assumptions and other specific swine flu guidance

Additional links

National Director

Professor Lindsey Davies has been National Director of Pandemic Influenza Preparedness since April 2006 and is also a senior director within the Department of Health.

Scientific Pandemic Influenza Advisory Committee (SPI) (opens new window)

The main role of the SPI is to advise the UK Government on scientific matters relating to the health response to an influenza pandemic.

Directgov (opens new window)

Information on pandemic flu for members of the public is available on

UK Resilience (opens new window)

This Cabinet Office website provides guidance and advice supporting emergency preparedness across the UK. It includes plans to develop a 3-5 year international strategy for pandemic flu.

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