What is Pandemic Flu?
A pandemic flu is a new flu virus that spreads quickly from person to person around the globe because people have little or no immunity to it. Because the virus is new, there is no vaccine. After the virus is identified, a vaccine will take six to nine months to develop.
How is pandemic flu different from the flu that hits every winter?
Most people have been exposed to the seasonal flu and their immune systems recognize and fight it. Vaccines are available to protect people from seasonal flu or lessen the symptoms.
Pandemic flu is a deadly virus that spreads easily because people have little or no immunity to it.
What does this mean for you?
It depends on the pandemic. Pandemic flus have swept across the world about three times a century in the past 400 or 500 years. They vary in severity.
- The 1918 pandemic killed more than 50 million people worldwide, at least 675,000 of those in the United States.
- The worldwide death toll for the 1957-58 pandemic was near 2 million with at least 70,000 deaths in the United States.
- More than 700,000 people died worldwide in the 1968-1969 pandemic and more than 34,000 were in the United States.
- More than 25,000 people died worldwide in the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic that infected at least 1.5 million people; 45,000 cases were in the United States.
- Click here for Timeline of Human Flu Pandemics
We've learned from history that such high levels of illness can change everyday life. Hospitals fill. The need for medication is likely greater than the supply. Public services suffer from high absenteeism. Schools may close and events may be cancelled. Daily supplies run low because people stockpile and the workers that pack and transport supplies are sick. A pandemic can alter every aspect of daily life.
What will happen to people in the five northern counties of Idaho during a pandemic?
Panhandle Health District's Preparedness program has developed a comprehensive plan to help Idaho's five northern counties prepare for, survive and recover from a pandemic flu.
PHD also helps businesses and government understand what they need to do to continue operating and help the community survive during a pandemic flu.
Each month, PHD e-mails short, useful tips - Pandemic Flu Particulars - to hundreds of businesses and elected officials in the five northern counties. Take a look:
- Are You Prepared?
- The Power of Public Officials
- Is Your Community Ready?
- Law Enforcement's Role in a Pandemic
- Providing Public Information
- Continuing Operations in a Pandemic
- Alternate Work Arrangements
- Protecting Workers
- Helping People At Risk
Here are links to valuable information on Pandemic Flu:
- PanFlu Idaho
- World Health Organization
- American Red Cross
- Ready.gov - How to prepare
- Preparedness Tools
- Preparedness for Kids