Basic Scientific Information

Influenza · Data · Pandemic · Epidemiology · Prevention · Diagnosis · Treatment · Glossary · Bibliography

What is influenza and how does it cause disease?

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What data is available regarding H5N1?

Human Data

Animal Data

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How likely is a flu pandemic?

According to the World Health Organization, the world is currently at phase 3 of a flu pandemic. The phase of a pandemic is dependent on several factors including the number and size of clusters of people infected by the virus.

Here are ten things you need to know about pandemic influenza according to the WHO.

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Who is most likely to get sick?

For general planning purposes, it is usually assumed that approximately 25–30% of the population will be infected by pandemic influenza. However, there are very large differences in the odds of being infected depending on the age of an individual. Some models predict that over 50% of all children will be infected by a pandemic strain of H5N1. The elderly are the least likely to be infected. The percent infected is also known as the “attack rate” of a virus. Equally important is the mortality rate, that is, the percent of infected people that die. Most of the people who have died from H5N1 infections have been children and young adults. This is a very different pattern of mortality from that observed with “normal” flu, which is more likely to kill the elderly than children. The ablility of H5N1 to kill otherwise healthy young people is similar to the very lethal 1918 pandemic strain of influenza but quite different from the milder pandemics of 1957 and 1968. This is one reason experts are so concerned about H5N1. The mortality rate for H5N1 is currently 50%. No one knows what the mortality rate for a pandemic strain of H5N1 would be, or if H5N1 will be the next pandemic strain.

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How do I avoid getting pandemic flu?

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How is influenza diagnosed?

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How will I be treated if I get sick with bird flu?

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  • Glossary – a glossary of scientific terms related to influenza


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Page last modified on May 24, 2011, at 09:28 AM by pogge