Influenza - Pandemic
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Influenza virus
A graphic of the microscopic H5N1 virus.

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious disease that is caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs). The flu is different from a cold. Influenza usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms: fever, headache, tiredness (can be extreme), dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. These symptoms are usually referred to as "flu-like symptoms."

Influenza A viruses periodically cause worldwide epidemics, or pandemics, with high rates of illness and death. Unlike other public welfare emergencies, an influenza pandemic will impact on multiple communities across the United States and require swift and coordinated action and cooperation by all levels of government. Advanced planning for a large scale and widespread health emergency is required to optimize health care delivery during a pandemic. In addition, prevention and preparedness activities facilitate the response and recovery during and after an influenza pandemic.

17 Apr 13

Sample Q&A: The Disease

What are the subtypes and variants of influenza that could cause a pandemic?
There are three types of influenza viruses – A, B and C. Type A influenza viruses are further categorized into subtypes according to different kinds and combinations of virus surface proteins.  Influenza viruses circulate in every part of the world.  Type C influenza cases occur much less frequently than A and B.  That is why only influenza A and B viruses are included in seasonal influenza vaccines.

The Influenza A virus causes influenza in birds and in some mammals.  Influenza A viruses are single-stranded, segmented RNA viruses.  There are 17 different hemagluttenin antigens (H1 to H17) and nine different neuraminidase antigens (N1 to N9).

The Influenza A virus subtypes that have been confirmed in humans, ordered by the number of known human pandemic deaths, are:
  • H1N1 caused "Spanish Flu" and the 2009 swine flu outbreak (novel H1N1)
  • H2N2 caused "Asian Flu"
  • H3N2 caused "Hong Kong Flu"
  • H5N1 is "bird flu," endemic in avian populations
  • H7N7 has unusual zoonotic potential
  • H1N2 is currently endemic in humans and pigs
  • H9N2, H7N2, H7N3, H10N7
Variants are sometimes named according to the species (host) in which the strain is endemic or to which it is adapted.  The main variants named using this convention are: avian flu, swine influenza, equine influenza, and canine influenza.

Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Public Health Service Historian
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
A Guide for Individuals and Families
U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine
Recommendations of the Defense Health Board (DHB)
AFEB Select Subcommittee for DoD Pandemic Influenza Preparedness
Author: McGinn
DoD Instruction 6200.03
Department of Health & Human Services
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
US Department of Health and Human Services & US Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Public Health Agency of Canada
Global Influenza
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
Department of Health and Human Services
Flu.gov - One-stop access to U.S. Government H1N1, avian and pandemic flu information
Pandemic Flu Watchboard
Relenza
MILVAX Webcast by COL Wayne Hachey, 20 Jan 2010

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explains the emergence and potential spread of new influenza viruses.


AFN: Chicken knows best when it comes to pandemic flu.
Chicken Knows Best Pandemic Flu
AFN: A chicken talks up Pandemic Flu.
CNN 28 Jan 14
H7N9 bird flu resurges in China ahead of Lunar New Year
NBC News 17 Jan 14
Look for weird flu symptoms, CDC reminds doctors
Author(s): Fuller T, Gilbert M, Martin V, Cappelle J, Hosseini P, Njabo K, Abdel Aziz S, Xiao X, Daszak P, Smith T
Publication: Emerging Infectious Diseases
Subject: Disease
Disease: 
Influenza - Seasonal
Influenza - Pandemic
Author(s): Government Accountability Office
Publication: GAO-13-374T
Subject: Vaccine-General
Disease: 
Influenza - Seasonal
Influenza - Pandemic
Author(s): Kuster S, Coleman B, Raboud J, McNeil S, De Serres G, Gubbay J, Hatchette T, Katz K, Loeb M, Low D, Mazzulli T, Simor A, McGeer A, and on behalf of th
Publication: Emerging Infectious Diseases; Volume 19, Number 4—April 2013
Subject: Disease
Disease: 
Influenza - Pandemic
Influenza - H1N1
Author(s): Salmon D, Akhtar A, Mergler M, Vannice K, Izurieta H, Lee G, Vellozzi, Garman P, Cunningham F, Gellin B, Koh H, Lurie N, H1N1 Working Group
Publication: Pediatrics
Subject: Vaccine-Safety
Disease: 
Influenza - Pandemic
Influenza - H1N1