With 800 cases for the World Health Organisation to deal with, 19 cases in Britain and the three latest new cases of the dreaded influenza strain A (H1N1) being confirmed in London, we wondered how real the threat was and what precautions could be taken.

Now existing in Scotland, England and Ireland, the recent cases of a 14 year old girl in Barnet and an 11 year old from Wandsworth contracting the disease confirm its arrival in the capital, with the first returning from Mexico, and perhaps more concerning, the latter returning from America. How preventative can local authorities be?

The chairman of the Local Government Association claims ‘Councils are keeping a close watch on reports of swine flu cases’ and that they ‘have well-developed contingency plans’ it seems like the dreaded ‘P’ word may not rear its ugly head after all.

Or could it?

The first case of the H1N1 virus himself, 27 year old Iain Askham, admitted that he attended a busy festival, dancing in the middle of a crowd of close knit people, and informed the authorities immediately once diagnosed. Despite this he was advised this valuable information would not be shared. Why? To not cause panic.
With the government’s actions evidently showing a reluctance to raise awareness for those people in potential danger and the health secretary Alan John saying ‘swine flu had so far been contained in Britain’ but then ‘warning against complacency’; going onto a stark reminder from the experience of previous pandemics that they come in two phases the first mild one followed seasonally by much more serious wave; are you prepared for a possible pandemic?

Recognise the symptoms Be prepared for remote
working conditions
Avoid skill
  • High fevers
  • Muscular pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sever cough
  • Lots of phlegm

(Easily treatable reducing recovery time)

  • Check communication channels all function from homes
  • Ensure all technology can be accessed and maintained
  • Have contingency plans for inaccessible / unachievable activities
  • Training manuals for procedures
  • Assess team members with departmentally transferable skills-sets
  • Decide temporary hierarchical replacements