share
by Lisa Grimaldi | February 01, 2010

When contemplating a preparedness plan for coping with the outbreak of a disease, it helps to be clear on the terminology regarding pandemics. Following are explanations of three key terms, adapted from the International Association for Exhibitions and Events Model Pandemic Crisis Management/Communication Plan.
   
Pandemic: An epidemic of infectious disease spreading through human populations across a large region -- for instance, a continent or even worldwide.  A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people continue to get sick is not a pandemic. Flu pandemics exclude seasonal flu. Throughout history, there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis; more recent examples include HIV and 2009's swine flu.
     
Influenza pandemic: This can occur when a new influenza virus appears, against which the human population has no immunity. With the increase in global transport, as well as urbanization and overcrowded conditions in some areas, epidemics due to a new influenza virus are likely to take hold around the world and become a pandemic faster than before. Pandemics can be either mild or severe in the illness and death they cause; the degree of severity

H1N1 influenza: H1N1 (initially referred to as "swine flu") is a new influenza virus causing illness in people.  This virus, first detected in people in the United States in April 2009, is spreading worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. Last June, the World Health Organization declared that a pandemic of 2009 H1N1 flu was underway.

Tips to ward off H1N1
Post these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on your event website and/or include in your pre- and on-site communications:

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Cough into your elbow or a handkerchief, not your hands.

• Wash hands (or use hand sanitizer) regularly with hot water and soap, for a full 15 to 20 seconds.

• If you have a fever, stay in your room.

Hospitality industry resources
Associations representing the hotel and convention center industries have developed comprehensive model plans and best practices for their members to follow. For example, guidelines developed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association include communicating about the outbreak of a virus such as H1N1 within the property; staffing, in the event many of the hotel's employees fall ill; and strict cleaning practices.
   
Resources for Dealing With a Pandemic
When contemplating a preparedness plan for coping with the outbreak of a disease, it helps to be clear on the terminology regarding pandemics. Following are explanations of three key terms, adapted from the International Association for Exhibitions and Events Model Pandemic Crisis Management/Communication Plan.
   
Pandemic: An epidemic of infectious disease spreading through human populations across a large region -- for instance, a continent or even worldwide.  A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people continue to get sick is not a pandemic. Flu pandemics exclude seasonal flu. Throughout history, there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis; more recent examples include HIV and 2009's swine flu.
     
Influenza pandemic: This can occur when a new influenza virus appears, against which the human population has no immunity. With the increase in global transport, as well as urbanization and overcrowded conditions in some areas, epidemics due to a new influenza virus are likely to take hold around the world and become a pandemic faster than before. Pandemics can be either mild or severe in the illness and death they cause; the degree of severity

H1N1 influenza:
H1N1 (initially referred to as "swine flu") is a new influenza virus causing illness in people.  This virus, first detected in people in the United States in April 2009, is spreading worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. Last June, the World Health Organization declared that a pandemic of 2009 H1N1 flu was underway.
Tips to ward off H1N1
Post these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on your event website and/or include in your pre- and on-site communications:

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Cough into your elbow or a handkerchief, not your hands.

• Wash hands (or use hand sanitizer) regularly with hot water and soap, for a full 15 to 20 seconds.

• If you have a fever, stay in your room.

Hospitality industry resources
Associations representing the hotel and convention center industries have developed comprehensive model plans and best practices for their members to follow. For example, guidelines developed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association include communicating about the outbreak of a virus such as H1N1 within the property; staffing, in the event many of the hotel's employees fall ill; and strict cleaning practices.

The following groups offer free, comprehensive tools to assist planners in creating pandemic plans.

American Hotel & Lodging Association
ahla.com
AHLA offers a 26-page H1N1 Influenza Management for Hotels manual, which can be downloaded from the organization's website.
 
International Facility Management Association Foundation
ifmafoundation.org
The 136-page Pandemic Preparedness Manual can be downloaded here.

International Association of Exhibitions and Events
iaee.com
The group's Center for Exhibition Safety and Security has created a Crisis Plan for Influenza here.

Additional information and resources tailored for planners are online at these sites:

Convention Industry Council
conventionindustry.org

Meeting Professionals International
mpiweb.org

National Business Travel Association
www2.nbta.org/resourcelibrary/Pages/swineflu.aspx

Professional Convention Management Association
pcma.org


Government resources
Experts cite these government organizations as invaluable resources for H1N1 information and planning:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
hhs.gov

World Health Organization
who.int/en