When a new flu virus infects many people around the world, it is called an influenza pandemic.
Health experts and governments around the world are worried that flu viruses affecting animals are changing into viruses that easily affect people. If these new viruses spread in New Zealand, many of us could become very sick.
Whether as a direct result of an infectious disease or a secondary consequence from another hazard (such as water supply failure), public health impacts can be significant.
The Taranaki District Health Board (TDHB) is the primary agency for the co-ordination of public health response in Taranaki. Arrangements are in place for co-operation between the TDHB and the Taranaki CDEM Group should this be required for a large-scale public health threat.
During a local emergency, the Medical Officer of Health has special powers to deal with public health threats should this be necessary.
The Ministry of Health (external link) is working with the health sector and other government agencies to ensure New Zealand is as prepared as possible for a potential pandemic.