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BIG RIVER TRADING CO. Website...
Australia's most consulted resource on
& DISASTER PLANNING
for Home, Lifestyle and Family ...
Your Family is the most important thing in your life, right?
But what if you couldn't help your family when they needed you the most?
Sure, life gets busy, finances get tight and if there was an emergency you could always rely on emergency services to help you, right?
Well what if they were busy helping everyone else...?
What if they couldn't get to you in time?
You need to learn HOW TO HELP YOURSELF!
And you can do that here.....
The Big River site offers a comprehensive library of reference articles and information about planning and preparing for an emergency or disaster...
We share articles such as news, stories, information, practical ideas, projects & how-to's ... as well as emergency references & links and product reviews to help you become more informed and better prepared.
Our aim is to inspire, motivate and educate you about the importance of being prepared and how you can do this in simple ways at home by yourself by offering you options, alternatives, solutions and ideas ....
So, whether you are preparing to protect yourself or your family from a Natural or Man-made Disaster, Financial Hardship or Civil Unrest or perhaps just wanting to set-up and prepare your home to be a little bit more self-reliant – the team here at BIG RIVER TRADING CO. can help you.
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Also see our section Pandemics - News & Stories
The world has experienced many pandemics throughout history, such as cholera, typhus, smallpox, measles, tuberculosis, leprosy, malaria, yellow fever and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS). There have also been many influenza-related pandemics, the most recent being Pandemic H1N1 influenza 2009 also referred to as swine flu. Over time, many of these diseases have been controlled through the use of vaccines.
The World Health Organization has a six stage classification to describe how a new influenza virus moves from the first few infections in humans to become a pandemic and what countries should do to prepare for and respond to a pandemic. It begins with the virus mostly infecting animals, with a few cases of animals infecting people, then moves through to the stage where the virus begins to spread directly between people. A pandemic is then declared when infections from the virus have spread worldwide.
The word 'pandemic' is a Greek word, with 'pan' meaning 'all' and 'demos' meaning 'people'. Throughout history, there have been many pandemics, spreading infectious diseases such as smallpox and tuberculosis. More recent pandemics include the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the Pandemic (H1N1) influenza 2009, commonly known as swine flu.
Australia also has its own system to describe each phase of a pandemic, in addition to the World Health Organisation classification system. The Australian pandemic phases describe whether the virus is spreading overseas or in Australia and what Australia plans to do as the disease enters and spreads throughout the country. A disease or condition is not a pandemic just because it is widespread or kills many people, it must also be contagious or infectious.
Pandemics throughout history
There have been several significant pandemics throughout history:
Plague of Athens, 430 BC
Suspected outbreak of typhoid fever which continued for over four years.
Antonine plague, 165-180 AD
This ancient pandemic, believed to be either smallpox or measles, was brought back to the Roman Empire by troops returning from campaigns in the Near East (now known as the countries of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Israel, and Jordan). The disease resulted in up to 2000 deaths per day in Rome, which was only one quarter of the people infected. The total number of deaths has been estimated at five million.
Plague of Justinian, 541-750 AD
This was the first recorded outbreak of the bubonic plague. It was reportedly responsible for eliminating a half of Europe's population between 550 and 700.
The Black Death, mid 1300 AD
'The Black Death' refers to the outbreak of bubonic plague in Europe in the mid 14th century. Bubonic Plague was spread by fleas that lived on plague infected rats. These rats travelled across Europe on trading ships, spreading the disease.
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in history and came to Europe in October of 1347, spread swiftly through most of Europe by the end of 1349 and on to Scandinavia and Russia in the 1350s. It returned several times throughout the rest of the century. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30 to 60 per cent of Europe's population.
Third Pandemic, mid 1800 AD
This outbreak of bubonic plague started in China, spreading to all inhabited continents and killing ten million people in India alone.
First Cholera Pandemic 1816 - 1826 AD
This pandemic began in Bengal then spread across India. It extended as far as China, Indonesia and the Caspian Sea.
Twentieth century influenza pandemics
In the twentieth century, the world experienced three influenza pandemics:
The Spanish flu 1918
The Spanish flu swept across the world between 1918 and 1919. It tended to affect areas for up to 12 weeks and then would suddenly disappear only to return several months later. More people died during this pandemic than in the First World War. Worldwide, at least 50 million people are thought to have died. It has been estimated that about 25 per cent of the world's population was infected.
The Asian flu 1957
Although the proportion of people infected was high, the illness was relatively mild compared to the Spanish flu. The first wave of this pandemic was concentrated in school children and the second in the elderly. It is estimated that the Asian flu resulted in two million deaths.
The Hong Kong flu 1968
This pandemic affected mainly the elderly and is thought to have resulted in approximately one million deaths worldwide.
As well as the influenza pandemics, there have been other types of pandemics that have occurred in the twentieth and twenty-first century. One example of this is:
The acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic is a widespread disease caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
HIV/AIDS has emerged as one of the greatest global threats to the human population. HIV/AIDS was first recognised in 1981. Since then, it has led to the deaths of more than 25 million people, making it one of the most destructive diseases in recorded history. In addition to this, an estimated 33 million people are now living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, with five million of those in the Asia-Pacific region.
Pandemics: Be prepared
One of the most common forms of pandemic is influenza (flu). Influenza is a potentially life threatening illness. It is a contagious disease of the nose, throat and lungs (respiratory tract), caused by influenza viruses. Each year, seasonal influenza causes serious infection and death around the world, usually during winter.
What is an influenza pandemic?
An influenza pandemic occurs when:
- a new sub-type of influenza virus emerges that most people have not been previously exposed to, and are therefore more susceptible to,
- the virus causes serious disease in humans, and
- the virus is easily and quickly spread between humans, infecting a large number of people and causing many deaths.
How can we slow the spread of influenza in the community?
In general, influenza viruses are spread in two ways:
- Respiratory droplets from an infected person's coughs or sneezes (these droplets generally travel less than one metre), or
- Touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself, your friends or your family from influenza is to practise good personal hygiene.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or use an alcohol based product (gel, rinse, foam) that doesn't require water - even when they are not visibly dirty. This is the most effective way of killing the influenza virus.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze. Remember to put used tissues in the bin and wash your hands afterwards.
- Don't share personal items such as towels, bedding, toothbrushes and eating utensils. The influenza virus can spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
- Clean surfaces. Flu viruses can live on hard surfaces for several hours, so surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water or detergent.
- Avoid close contact with others. Keep your distance from others and avoid going out in public when you are sick. You should not go to work or school, or attend other public gatherings.
- Use personal protective equipment as directed by health authorities. People who are coughing or sneezing or have other symptoms of the influenza such as fever or muscle pain should be encouraged to wear a surgical mask to contain the virus and help prevent its spread.
Where can I get help?
If you are sick during an influenza pandemic it is advisable in the first instance to make contact with a doctor by phone rather than in person, to help reduce the spread of infection.
If there is an outbreak of influenza in your community:
- Watch TV, listen to the radio or check newspapers for up-to-date information.
- Call the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing public health information hotline 1800 004 599 or visit the Pandemic Influenza website Information will also be available from your state or territory health department.