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Pandemic Flu Topics

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Avian Flu vs Pandemic Flu

Pandemic Flu Planning:

Pan Flu Presentations:

Preparedness

 

 

 
AVIAN flu vs. PANDEMIC influenza

GENERAL QUESTIONS

 

  1. What is pandemic influenza? 
  2. Why is pandemic influenza so serious?
  3. Why does the current avian/bird flu outbreak in other parts of the world post a risk of causing a pandemic influenza outbreak in humans?
  4. What can the public do to reduce their risk of pandemic influenza?
  5. I live near people who keep chickens and other poultry. Am I safe?
  6. I have a small flock of chickens in my backyard. Are there any special precautions I should take to keep them from getting bird flu?

 

ANSWERS TO GENERAL QUESTIONS

 1. What is pandemic influenza?

Influenza viruses cause infections of the respiratory tract (breathing tubes and lungs). In some person, complications of influenza can be severe, including pneumonia.

 

Pandemic influenza is a global outbreak of disease from a new influenza A virus that is unlike past influenza viruses. Because people have not been infected with a similar virus in the past, most or all people will not have any natural immunity immunity (protection) to a new pandemic virus.

 

2. Why is pandemic influenza so serious?

Because most or all people would not have immunity to a new pandemic virus, large numbers of persons around the world could be infected. If the pandemic virus causes severe disease, many people would develop serious illnesses. Some of those who developed severe influenza would die.

 

Once a pandemic virus develops, it can spread rapidly causing outbreaks around the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that as much as 25% to 30% of the U.S. population could be affected. In Whatcom County alone, a severe pandemic could make 52,800 people ill. Of those, it is estimated that 25,520 would need outpatient care, over 440 would need hospitalization, and 223 could die.

 

High levels of illness and death during a pandemic could lead to other forms of social and economic disruption. With so many people in so many places becoming ill, caring for the ill, and looking after their children at home, the available workforce will be reduced. Impacts of a pandemic on everyday life may include school and business closures, the interruption of basic services such as public transportation and food delivery, and cancellation of large public gatherings.

3. Why does the current avian/bird flu outbreak in other parts of the world post a risk of causing a pandemic influenza outbreak in humans?

New human influenza viruses arise from bird influenza viruses that then change to a form that can infect humans and spread readily from person to person. The current bird flu outbreak in Asia is caused by a type of influenza A virus called “H5N1.” The H5N1 outbreak among domestic chickens and ducks in Asia is widespread and uncontrolled. Human infections and deaths due to the avian H5N1 virus have occurred. Most of these cases involved direct or close contact with infected birds or surfaces possibly contaminated from feces of infected birds. However, at this time, the virus has not developed the ability to pass easily from person to person and cause outbreaks in humans.


4. What can the public do to reduce their risk of pandemic influenza?

See INDIVIDUAL GUIDELINES and/or BUSINESS GUIDELINES on the PANDEMIC INFLUENZA HOMEPAGE

 

5. I live near people who keep chickens and other poultry. Am I safe?

This does not present a risk. At the present time, the H5N1 strain of bird flu that has spread through poultry farms in southeast Asia and into eastern Europe is not present in the U.S. Even if the H5N1 strain were to appear in the U.S. , transmission from birds to people would require close contact with birds, such as handling, butchering or exposure to bird droppings.

 

6. I have a small flock of chickens in my backyard. Are there any special precautions I should take to keep them from getting bird flu?

You should practice good sanitation and preventive measures, such as reducing exposure to wild birds, to guard against a variety of diseases. Excellent information on “backyard biosecurity for the birds” is available at: www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/birdbiosecurity/hpai.html. If birds in your flock die unexpectedly, you can report this to the WA State Dept. of Agriculture at (360) 902-1881 or (360) 902-1878; testing for bird flu may be recommended.