Pandemic Flu, Natural Disease Planning and Ebola Information

Planning for Pandemic Influenza Fatalities

Local authorities are currently planning how to manage an increase in natural deaths due to a pandemic influenza event in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is an undeniable fact that if a pandemic were to arrive, citizens will succumb to the disease or related secondary causes. Local medical facilities, first responders, funeral directors and many others need to prepare for managing the possibly high numbers of additional deaths during a pandemic. The Managing Pandemic Influenza Fatality Events brochure contains an overview of what localities need to plan for during a pandemic event including signing and filing death certificates, handling human remains and storage considerations. Additionally, the OCME has prepared pandemic flu death estimates derived from VDH projections and CDC’s FluAid 2.0 software and presented by Planning Districts, Virginia Department of Emergency Management Regions, and by Virginia State Police Divisions. While these numbers are estimates, they provide local authorities with an idea of how many deaths they might see in their locality and encourage collaboration with other districts/regions to manage fatalities. While pandemic flu deaths would be natural deaths, the protocol for pronouncing the death, signing the death certificate and handling the remains would not differ from that of seasonal flu, except that there would be higher numbers. For a review of the protocol for managing pandemic flu deaths, please review the Flowchart for In-Hospital Pandemic Flu Deaths or the Flowchart for Out-of-Hospital Pandemic Flu Deaths.

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Planning for Natural Disease Fatalities

Naturally occurring disease deaths pose new challenges for local planners and responders. Normally handled by the primary care physician and the families’ funeral directors, both private entities, the possibility of large numbers of naturally occurring disease deaths requires local government resources to investigate all non-hospital deaths, and to support the private funeral service businesses as they struggle to keep up with the management of increased numbers of deaths.

The OCME has created this document to help localities prepare to manage the increased number of deaths due to a natural disease event.

Natural Disease Plan


Ebola Information