Like most emergencies, disease outbreak can occur at any time and can affect both humans and animals. Some diseases, such as pandemic influenza, only affect humans.
Other diseases, such as avian flu, can affect both birds and on rare occasions, humans. And yet other diseases, such as equine influenza, only affect animals (horses). Disease outbreaks include influenza, food poisoning and Legionnaire’s disease, each carrying a different risk and outcome.
While agencies work swiftly to address disease outbreak, it is important the community also plays its role in preventing the spread of the disease.
The information on these pages will assist you in being better prepared for a disease outbreak.
Pandemic influenza is caused by a completely new influenza virus, therefore causing infection in many people because they do not have an immunity to the new virus strain.
Seasonal influenza occurs every year and causes the infectious disease known as influenza (the flu).
Pandemic influenza is extremely contagious and is spread three ways:
- coughing or sneezing releases tiny droplets into the air
- touching contaminated surfaces and then rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth
- particles in the air in crowds.
Some simple things you can do to protect yourself and prevent the spread of influenza include:
- washing your hands after blowing your nose or touching contaminated surfaces and objects
- covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- limiting contact with other people
- maintaining good health.
It is a good idea to have supplies available in the event that you are unable to leave the house:
- tissues (at least one week’s supply)
- plastic bags to dispose of used tissues
- fluids (juice, water and soups)
- paracetamol and a thermometer.
It is recommended that you see a doctor as soon as you suspect that you, or members of your family, are infected with influenza in case it turns out to be pandemic influenza.
It is estimated that pandemic influenza will result in large-scale absenteeism from work, interruption to services such as public transport, meals on wheels and education, loss of wages for employees and loss of income for industry and business owners.
For more information, visit Department of Health Victoria or World Health Organisation.
The outbreak of animal diseases in Loddon Shire has the potential to affect native wildlife, domestic animals and commercial stock, which could result in the destruction of the animal population. Some animal diseases have the potential to spread to humans.
In the event of an animal disease outbreak, it is extremely important the community heeds warnings from the agencies in charge of responding to the problem, to ensure the disease outbreak is contained.
In the event that infected carcasses need to be destroyed, Council and Agriculture Victoria work in partnership to ensure that procedures are followed.
If you suspect the presence of a notifiable animal disease, you must contact Agriculture Victoria.
You can find out more about animal health at the Agriculture Victoria website.