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11 January 2002 News Update


The Ministry of Health is evaluating the emergency response capabilities of the health sector by staging a month-long nationwide influenza pandemic response exercise.

The exercise involved emergency response teams from the country's 21 District Health Boards, Public Health services, the Ministry's emergency response team and the National Pandemic Planning Committee.

The exercise is seen as important as an influenza pandemic is one of the biggest threats to public health. A pandemic occurs when a new type of influenza virus develops and spreads to all countries of the world. Because the virus is new, no one has any immunity and many people become seriously ill.

In the past 100 years there have been three influenza pandemics.

Exercise evaluator is the ministry's chief advisor for safety and regulation, Dr Bob Boyd.

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