The World Health Organization announced last month that the second wave of the H1N1 (swine) flu pandemic had abated slightly after reaching its height in the United States in November.  However, the organization warned of additional waves of the pandemic event and claimed that the event will likely linger through 2010 and perhaps 2011.

A characteristic of most pandemic events is that they come in waves.  The United States have already seen two waves of the H1N1 outbreak, the first coming in April through early June, and the second taking place as autumn arrived.  Viruses typically mutate over time, such as the Tamiflu-resistant strain that spread in small circles this fall, but they typically do not change so dramatically that someone who has already had the virus or a vaccine would become ill again.  Once the majority of the general population has developed an immunity toward the virus (through infection or immunization), the virus typically returns to patterns similar to the seasonal flu.

Effective pandemic planning strategies take into account additional waves of pandemic outbreak.  Many measures taken by organizations in response to the last two waves of 2009 H1N1 have readied businesses for an additional wave of H1N1 or an appropriate response to the feared H5N1 (avian) flu virus, which has not been widespread, but is feared to be more virulent.

GraVoc Associates, Inc., based in Peabody, MA, is dedicated to providing customers with solutions in the fields of information security, information systems, and professional services.  Serving Greater Boston, New England, and beyond since 1994, GraVoc offers pandemic planning services to ensure that your organization is prepared to respond to widespread illness, supply chain interruptions due to a pandemic event, and widespread employee absenteeism.  For more information about GraVoc, please visit  For previous blog posts on H1N1 on the GraVoc News Blog, please click here.