Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
for Primary Health Care Workers
will be aware of the widespread worldwide concern that the current
outbreak of Avian Influenza caused by the H5N1 virus might mutate,
resulting in a new viral strain that could trigger a human influenza
were three influenza pandemics last century and all started by different
influenza viruses. Experts agree that another pandemic could
happen at any time.
Primary Health Care is fundamental to pandemic planning as it will be in
the frontline of action to minimise the impact of pandemic influenza.
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners – the lead
agency for the General Practice Leaders’ Forum – the College of Practice
Nurses (NZNO) and the Ministry of Health are working together to ensure
that the Primary Health Care sector gets quick and accurate information.
At the moment New Zealand is working within the WHO pandemic alert period,
phase 3, MoH Code White.
The following kit is designed to assist Primary
Care in planning for the pandemic.
kit is a resource for pandemic preparedness and should be kept in your
workplace. It includes posters for both staff and patients that should
be prominently displayed in the event of a pandemic occurring. The kit contains:
poster advising respiratory health awareness following international
poster on hygiene and infection control for primary health care workers
fact sheet on influenza
fact sheet on infection control for Primary Health Care workers, and
3) which will be printed and sent separately.
resources can also be downloaded from the Ministry website:
www.health.govt.nz/pandemicinfluenza. Hard copies will be
delivered later in November. As we learn more about the H5N1 virus and
the potential for a pandemic outbreak, more specific clinical
information, such as case definitions, will be made available.
recommended that practices establish effective Infection Control
Practices now and fully train staff in their use.
also recommended that practices should have sufficient supplies of
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to last at least for six weeks and
preferably for three months.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) consists of:
Surgical Masks for both staff and patients
N95 masks for very close patient contact situations
Goggles or face shields
Sufficient supplies of hand washing gel and paper disposal towels.