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Understanding Pandemic Influenza

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Most of us have heard about the flu (or "influenza"). But what is bird flu and how is a flu pandemic different from seasonal flu? The following information helps to explain the difference between seasonal, avian and pandemic flu.

Differences between Seasonal, Avian and Pandemic Flu
  Avian (Bird) Flu Seasonal (Human) Flu Pandemic Flu
What is the connection? What is the connection between bird flu, human flu and pandemic flu?

Bird flu + Human flu can = Pandemic flu
One way pandemic flu can occur is if bird flu mixes with human flu and creates a new strain of flu virus that can spread easily from human to human.
What is it? A disease caused by influenza viruses carried and spread among birds. A disease caused by influenza viruses carried and spread among humans. A new strain of influenza virus that spreads quickly worldwide.
• It is carried and spread among humans; and
• humans have little or no immunity against it.
How does it spread? • Wild birds are the main carriers.
• Domestic birds (like chickens and turkeys) can get the virus from wild birds and may become seriously ill.
• Humans do not easily contract bird flu viruses
• Humans can only get bird flu by handling infected birds or coming into contact with contaminated feces.
• There is no evidence that bird flu is passed by eating cooked poultry products.
• Breathing droplets that have been sneezed or coughed into the air by someone with the flu, or having the droplets land on the surface of your eye.
• Shaking hands with an infected person or touching a contaminated surface, and then touching your own eyes, nose or mouth.
• Spread the same way as seasonal flu.