2009 H1N1 Flu
Novel influenza A (H1N1) is a new flu virus that was first detected in April 2009. The virus has sparked a growing and expanding pandemic - with 214 countries worldwide reporting confirmed cases of H1N1 Flu, including over 18,300 deaths, to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Many factors changed since the H1N1 Flu first arrived. There is little 2009 H1N1 Flu virus currently circulating and causing illness in the United States. No states are reporting widespread or regional influenza activity, and most states are reporting no activity or sporadic activity. This is typical for the summer during non-pandemic years. Hospitalizations from influenza-like illnesses have also fallen to their usual low levels for this time of year. In response to the current situation of the H1N1 Flu activity in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not renew the public health emergency declaration for the H1N1 Flu Pandemic, and it expired on June 23. In addition, on August 10, the WHO announced that the world is no longer in phase 6 of influenza pandemic alert, and we are now moving into the post-pandemic period.
In light of all of this, the Department of the Interior Office of Emergency Management (DOI OEM) is scaling back the various H1N1 Flu mitigation measures employed in response to the H1N1 Flu Pandemic and outlined in previous memoranda (which can be found in the Guidance for Bureau and Office Emergency Planners section of this website).
In doing so, we note that the H1N1 Flu is still circulating. Based on experience with past pandemics, we expect the H1N1 virus to take on the behavior of a seasonal influenza virus and continue to circulate for some years to come. Pandemics, like the viruses that cause them, are unpredictable. So is the immediate post-pandemic period. There will be many questions, and we will have clear answers for only some. Continued vigilance is extremely important. Everyone should still take basic precautions to prevent themselves and their families from getting flu and other respiratory infections in the first place – for example, by washing your hands frequently, covering your cough with a sleeve or a tissue, and staying home if you are ill.
The Office of Emergency Management will continue to maintain awareness of the continually evolving situation and will provide additional updates and guidance (on this website and through other means) if the situation dictates.
The H1N1 Flu Questions & Answers webpage provides answers to many of the questions individuals, as well as bureaus and offices, have posed about the H1N1 Flu and related issues.