The Department of Health in New York (2008, health. state. ny. us) defines a pandemic as a kind of epidemic that spreads swiftly all over the world with high rates of death and illnesses. A pandemic is different from influenza outbreaks. Seasonal flu outbreaks are caused by flu viruses that people had already been exposed to. On the other hand, a pandemic outbreak is caused by a new strain of influenza virus. Edwin Kilbourne had written about the Influenza Pandemics of the 20th century. In the 20th century, there have been three outbreaks of influenza that can be considered as a pandemic.
The outbreaks had happened in the year 1918, 1957 and 1968 (Kilbourne, p. 1). The flu pandemic had been identified based on their places of origin such as Spain, Asian and Hong Kong Influenza. At present, scientists had discovered the bird flu which is also known as the H5N1 virus. This particular strain had already affected wild birds, chickens and other poultry across the globe. There have been instances that the people who had been in close contact with the sick poultry had been affected and some had died.
The new strain of virus can cause the pandemic flu to recur because until now there is still no vaccine available to stop the occurrence of the avian flu from spreading. The flu can be contracted from one bird to another and from a bird to a human. There has not yet been any record of a human affecting another human from having the flu disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Department of Health and Human Services and other Federal agencies had developed an interim planning and a pandemic mitigation framework to counter the recurrence of pandemic influenza. (Community Strategy for Pandemic Flu, 2007)
Works Cited Pandemic Flu, “Community Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Mitigation”. US Department of Health and Human Services. February 2007. <http://www. pandemicflu. gov/plan/community/commitigation. html> Kilbourne, Edward. “Influenza Pandemics of the 20th Century”. Emerging Infectious Diseases. Vol. 12 No. 1 January 2006. <http://www. cdc. gov/ncidod/EID/vol12no01/05-1254. htm> Department of Health New York. “Pandemic Influenza” 2008, <http://www. health. state. ny. us/diseases/communicable/influenza/pandemic/>