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South Central
Public Health District
1020 Washington St N
Twin Falls ID 83301-3156
(208) 737-5900


  

Pandemic Influenza Information

What is Pandemic Influenza?

"A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity, and for which there is no vaccine. The disease spreads easily person-to-person, causes serious illness, and can sweep across the country and around the world in very short time." Source: Flu.gov

South Central Public Health District is helping our communities to prepare for a pandemic by providing educational and planning resources to families, churches, schools, business, and other agencies.

In the event of a pandemic, the services that South Central Public Health District provides will be even more important, so we are preparing our organization.

To access education and planning materials for your family, school, or other organization, please visit our pandemic planning website at http://www.panflusouthidaho.org.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):



What has South Central Public Health District done to prepare?

South Central Public Health District has the essential building blocks in place to protect the public from an influenza pandemic.   We continue to strengthen our preparedness capacity by working with other state and local emergency preparedness agencies to test our plans.

Preparation for pandemic influenza is one of our highest priorities.   It is important to remember that everyone has a responsibility for preparedness.

In the past year, with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

  • We have conducted a tabletop exercise with county and state leaders to learn who the players are in an emergency and where there are areas in which we need to improve planning efforts.

  • The state of Idaho has written a Pandemic Flu Response Plan that addresses the actions the state has taken to prepare for a pandemic, as well as the actions we’ll take to respond to one. Public health officials worldwide have been preparing for a pandemic flu for several years. Although a pandemic flu would present many challenges for our citizens and for our health-care system, the goal of the plan is to minimize the impacts of pandemic disease on Idahoans.

  • We are in the process of writing our pandemic flu plan to work in tandem with the State of Idaho’s pandemic plan.

  • We are also exercising current emergency plans which train staff on how to set up and conduct public vaccination clinics for large numbers of people.

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What is the difference between avian flu and pandemic flu?

Seasonal flu, avian flu, and pandemic flu are not the same.

  • Seasonal (or common) flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted from person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available.

  • Avian (or bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. The H5N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and can be transmitted from birds to humans. There is no human immunity and no vaccine is available.

  • Pandemic flu is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person. Currently, there is no pandemic flu.

Will avian flu be the next pandemic?

No one knows for sure how serious a worldwide avian flu outbreak would be -- or even if avian flu will be the next pandemic.   But scientists and government officials believe it could pose a serious threat to our health, our economy, and our way of life.

Pandemic diseases have occurred periodically throughout human history. Since we know that, we have an advantage: We can plan for the next pandemic, whenever it might be.

In the years since past pandemics, public health officials have vastly improved our ability to detect and control infectious diseases, and we’ve become more vigilant.  We’ll know when a new and serious strain of flu emerges, and we’ll be able to take precautions to reduce its impacts.

It’s something that we all need to take seriously and plan for.

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What should the public be doing now to prepare for a possible flu pandemic?

The general public can do something now to prepare themselves and their families for a possible pandemic flu. They can:

Practice good flu hygiene now so that it becomes “second nature” if there is a pandemic flu outbreak:
Man Sneezing into Tissue
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when coughing and sneezing

  • Wash your hands often

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

  • Avoid close contact with sick people

  • Stay home when you are sick

  • Do all you can to improve your health. The healthier you are, the more resistant your body is to disease. So it’s a better time than ever to quit smoking, improve your eating habits, exercise regularly, and get regular medical checkups and recommended immunizations.

  • Make a personal preparedness plan and kit: visit http://www.redcross.org.

Stay informed. These web sites provide regularly updated information about bird flu and pandemic flu:

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Last Updated February 8, 2013 11:13 AM      © 2008 South Central Public Health District