Flu Terms Defined Seasonal (or common) flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available. Pandemic flu is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person.Currently, there is no pandemic flu. Avian (or bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. The H5N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and can be transmitted from birds to humans. There is no human immunity and no vaccine is available.
Could Avian flu become a Pandemic? Currently, H5N1 is not passed efficiently from person to person.
Why is Avian flu (H5N1) a threat? • If the H5N1 strain mutates and becomes contagious from person to person it could cause a pandemic. • One way this could occur is if a single animal is infected with H5N1 as well as a human strain of flu. • Swine can become infected with both avian and human influenzas.
Why is Avian flu (H5N1) a threat? • The structure of agriculture in Asia is conducive to swine contracting both avian and human influenzas.
Possible Sources of Avian flu (H5N1) At this time, H5N1 has not been detected in this country. Possible sources include: • Pets imported from countries with H5N1 • Feather products from countries with H5N1 The CDC stresses that properly handled and cooked game, poultry, and eggs are safe to eat.
Safe Handling of Poultry Proper handling and cooking of poultry is always advised: • Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling raw poultry or poultry products. • Clean cutting boards and counters before and after preparing poultry. • Thoroughly cook all poultry and poultry products.
What can you do to reduce the spread of influenza? • Get a flu shot. • Wash your hands frequently. • Sick or well, this is a good habit. • Wash for vigorously with soap and water for 20 seconds. • If you do become sick, stay home to reduce the spread of flu. • “Cover your coughs” and “sneeze in the sleeve”.
The Predictions • A pandemic could last from 1 to 3 years. • There would likely be 2 or more waves lasting 4 to 8 weeks each. • 35% of the population could become ill with 10% of those requiring hospitalization. • 60% of the workforce could be unavailable at any given time.
The Predictions • Total deaths in Florida could reach 320,000. • There would be limited treatment options. • There would not be enough Tamiflu for everyone. • There would be no vaccine for the first wave. • Vaccine could take 6 to 8 months to develop.
Other Possible Challenges • Hospitals and medical system would be overwhelmed. • Business operations could slow or stop in some cases. • Maintaining utilities could be a challenge given projected absenteeism.
What can you do to prepare? To plan for a pandemic: • Store a two week supply of water and food. During a pandemic, if you cannot get to a store, or if stores are out of supplies, it will be important for you to have extra supplies on hand. This can be useful in other types of emergencies, such as power outages and disasters. • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home. • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins. • Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home. • Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response. • Get involved in your community as it works to prepare for an influenza pandemic.
What can you do to prepare? To limit the spread of germs and prevent infection: • Teach children to wash hands frequently with soap and water, and model the correct behavior. • Teach children to cover coughs and sneezes with sleeves or tissues, and be sure to model that behavior. • Stay home from work if you are sick. Teach children to stay home from school and away from others as much as possible if they are sick. http://www.pandemicflu.gov/planguide/checklist.html
What can you do to prepare? • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, and soups • Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment • Protein or fruit bars • Soap and water, or alcohol-based (60-95%) hand wash • Dry cereal or granola • Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen • Peanut butter or nuts • Thermometer • Dried fruit • Anti-diarrheal medication • Crackers • Vitamins • Canned juices • Fluids with electrolytes • Bottled water • Cleansing agent/soap • Canned or jarred baby food and formula • Flashlight • Pet food • Batteries • Other non-perishable items • Portable radio • Manual can opener • Garbage bags • Tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers http://www.pandemicflu.gov/
This guide outlines the role of the Federal government, as well as that of State and local agencies, private businesses, and individuals and families. http://www.whitehouse.gov/homeland/pandemic-influenza.html
National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza • States and communities should have credible pandemic preparedness plans to respond to an outbreak within their jurisdictions. • The private sector should play an integral role in preparedness before a pandemic begins, and should be part of the national response.
The Florida Department of Health has the power to issue a quarantine if deemed necessary. Law enforcement would be called upon to enforce a quarantine. http://www.doh.state.fl.us/rw_Bulletins/flpanfluv104final.pdf
IN CONCLUSION . . .
Contact Information Amanda J. Shaw University of South Florida Center for Biological Defense (813) 974-1472 firstname.lastname@example.org