York creates Web site to explain pandemic-emergency plan

York has launched a Web site to explain how it is preparing for a possible influenza pandemic.

“We are well in step with other institutions, with governments at all levels and with Toronto Public Health in preparing for such an eventuality,” says Steve Dranitsaris, Chair of the University’s Pandemic Influenza Steering Committee, which started planning last fall.

International health experts predict another influenza pandemic will occur like the Spanish (1918), Asian (1957) and Hong Kong (1968) flu pandemics that killed millions around the world. But they don’t know when or how it will strike. It could infect millions and kills thousands in Ontario.

York’s steering committee is working with Toronto Public Health representatives to develop a plan for the University. Like Toronto, York is basing its plan on the World Health Organization’s model of alert phases for a pandemic.

Since last fall, York has also been discussing pandemic planning with other Toronto-area universities and colleges, organizations and agencies.

The federal government has developed a pandemic influenza response and Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is working on one.

Visit York’s Emergency Preparedness Program Web site and watch YFile and Ylife for more information and updates.