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Pandemic Influenza
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Pandemic Phases

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a set of pandemic phases (external link) that it uses to describe the global situation (phases 1-6).

The Australian pandemic phases are designed to describe the situation in Australia and to guide Australia's response. Thus, the Australian and the WHO phase may not always be the same.

The Australian phases describe whether the virus is in countries overseas (OS) or in Australia (AUS). Having an Australian system means that actions can be taken in Australia before a change of phase is declared by the WHO. The description of each phase is shown in the following table.

Australian phase
A novel virus with pandemic potential causes severe disease in humans who have had contact with infected animals. There is no effective transmission between humans. Novel virus has not arrived in Australia.
Effective transmission of novel virus detected overseas in either:
- Small cluster of cases in one country overseas.
- Large cluster(s) of cases in only one or two countries overseas.
- Large cluster(s) of cases in more than two countries overseas.
Novel virus not detected in Australia.
Pandemic virus has arrived in Australia causing small number of cases and/or small number of clusters.
A pandemic virus which is mild in most but severe in some and moderate overall is established in Australia
Pandemic virus is established in Australia and spreading in the community.
Customised pandemic vaccine widely available and is beginning to bring the pandemic under control.
Pandemic controlled in Australia but further waves may occur if the virus drifts and/or is re-imported into Australia.

This information was issued on 06 January, 2011

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