Online Flu Resource
Flu.gov is an excellent resource for learning more about the flu and how to combat it.
Flu.gov Resources: Ask the Experts | PSAs
What is an influenza pandemic?
A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population, begins to cause serious illness and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide.
Why have I heard so much about “swine flu”?
Novel H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu” ) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a pandemic of novel H1N1 flu was underway.
Novel H1N1 flu is a respiratory (breathing tract) disease caused by type A influenza (flu) virus.
There are three types of influenza viruses: A, B and C. Influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of disease almost every winter in the United States. Influenza type C infections cause a mild respiratory illness and are not thought to cause epidemics.
Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: the hemagglutinin (H) and the neuraminidase (N). There are 16 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 9 different neuraminidase subtypes, Influenza A viruses can be further broken down into different strains. The current subtypes of influenza A viruses found in people are A (H1N1) and A (H3N2).
Influenza B viruses are not divided into subtypes. Influenza B viruses also can be further broken down into different strains.
Influenza A (H1N1), A (H3N2), and influenza B strains are included in each year's influenza vaccine. Getting a flu vaccine can protect against influenza A and B viruses. The flu vaccine does not protect against influenza C viruses.
For more information about the novel H1N1 flu virus, please visit the following CDC websites:
Are there any vaccines for H1N1?
Yes. It is expected the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine to have a similar safety profile as seasonal flu vaccines, which have a very good safety track record. Over the years, hundreds of millions of Americans have received seasonal flu vaccines. The most common side effects following flu vaccinations are mild, such as soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be closely monitoring for any signs that the vaccine is causing unexpected adverse events and we will work with state and local health officials to investigate any unusual events.
What is Laurel doing to prepare for a pandemic?
The City is currently researching and forming a plan to ensure continuity of emergency, health, and other government services. The City encourages businesses to create plans as well, as many employees may be unable to work or forced to work from home.
How can I prepare myself and my family for a pandemic?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created a planning checklist that is available at http://www.pandemicflu.gov/planguide/checklist.html.
Where can I find more information?
Maryland Flu Preparedness http://flu.maryland.gov/preparing.html
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/covercough.htm
World Health Organization http://www.who.int/csr/en/
Information on this web-page is from Flu.gov at http://www.flu.gov/.
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