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Pandemic Flu Preparedness

We're On the Radio!

LPFD aired on KKIQ in an interview regarding the Avian Bird Flu February 3, 2008 featuring Gregory Hartl, Sabina Imrie, and Nicole Gehmlich with Ted Asregadoo.

Download the interview in mp3 format.

What is Avian Flu?

Have you ever imagined a bird with a fever and a cough? Probably not. But birds can get the flu just like humans can. Birds have their own strains of flu that can make them sick. Certain strains of the flu have caused more severe sickness in birds than others. One emerging strain of influenza, called H5N1, is of special concern to public health officials. This strain has infected and killed hundreds of thousands of birds, and has shown that it can jump the species barrier and infect humans as well. As of January 2008, 350 cases of bird flu in humans have been confirmed, resulting in severe sickness and 216 deaths worldwide.  The mortality rate of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in humans is over 50%. People can get Avian Flu from contact with infected birds, their raw products, or bird feces.

Signs and symptoms of an Avian Flu infection include severe flu symptoms such as fever, cough, muscle aches and sore throat, accompanied by more serious complications like eye infections and pneumonia that can be fatal. Each time a person is infected, the H5N1 virus has a new chance to mutate into a virus that could become transmissible to others. If person-to-person transfer was to occur, it could lead to a global outbreak, or pandemic.

As of January 2008, no cases of bird flu in birds or humans have been reported in the US. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed pandemic Avian Flu preparedness as one of its chief concerns. There is currently no vaccine available for Avian Flu. The best method for decreasing risk of infection involves personal preparedness, sanitation, and infection control methods. Individuals and communities must be informed and take the necessary precautions to ensure their health and safety. The following websites and materials will help you be prepared in the event of a flu pandemic.