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Pandemic Flu:
What it is and How to Prepare
When many people get a disease at the same time, it is called a pandemic.
Pandemic flu is caused when people get sick or infected from a new flu
virus that had not been harmful to people before. This type of flu spreads
easily from person to person and can cause many people to become very ill
or die. Pandemic flu may come and go in waves that can last for months at a
time. Over the last 100 years, there have been three pandemic flu outbreaks.
It is not known when the next pandemic flu will occur or how severe it will
Signs of Flu

The signs of seasonal flu are fever, cough, runny nose and muscle pain. The
signs of pandemic flu are the same, but they may be more severe and affect
more people. With pandemic flu, healthy adults may be at increased risk for
What Is Avian Flu?

Avian flu, also called bird flu, is a disease found in wild and farm birds.
There is a concern that the bird flu will become the next pandemic flu. Bird
flu viruses do not often infect humans. There have been some rare cases of
human infection from direct contact with infected birds. It is safe to eat well-
cooked poultry such as chicken, turkey, duck and other game birds because
cooking destroys germs, including bird flu viruses.

Experts are watching for changes in the bird flu virus that would cause it to
infect people and be passed from person to person. This could lead to a
Controlling the Spread of the Flu

It may take six months or longer to make a vaccine for pandemic flu. The
supply of vaccine will be small in the early stages of a pandemic. We do not
know if the medicines used to treat and prevent seasonal flu will help.