A pandemic is a disease that spreads worldwide, affecting a large number of people.
When a new influenza virus emerges, a flu pandemic can occur. Because the virus is new, people have little to no immunity against it and the virus spreads quickly from person-to-person.
An outbreak elsewhere in the world could arrive in British Columbia in one to six months. It could occur in waves, and last for several months or longer.
We’re closely monitoring the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. For more information, visit COVID-19
How to prepare
A pandemic will cause increased illness across the community and impact the day-to-day supply of goods and services. Prepare an emergency kit and an emergency plan.
What to do during a pandemic
All types of flu, pandemic or not, spread from person to person by droplets produced by coughing or sneezing.
If you touch an object that has been contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without first washing your hands, you can catch the flu.
How to avoid a flu pandemic
- Get a seasonal flu shot.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Keep your hands away from your face – cough and sneeze into your arm.
- Clean and disinfected frequently-touched surfaces like doorknobs and hand rails.
- Stay home and keep your distance from others if you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Maintain a strong immune system with a good diet, exercise, and adequate sleep.
- Stay informed about pandemics through official news sources and health authorities.
Get notified pandemic or flu outbreak
- EmergencyInfoBC alerts
- Public Health Agency of Canada Flu Watch
- BC Centre for Disease Control Influenza Surveillance