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HEADER: Influenza the virus in Humans and Animals Home Page

Who This Site is For
Veterinary Professionals and Animal Owners in search of reliable, accurate information regarding influenza from a trusted source.

Quick Flu Facts
Tired of mismatched terms and media hype? Read below to set the record straight.

seasonal flu
Seasonal (or common) flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, fatigue, and muscle aches. Unlike the common cold, influenza has the potential to be a serious illness. In the USA, flu season generally runs from December through March. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available and recommended, especially for people at high risk for serious disease, such as the elderly and those with other illnesses.
Pandemic Flu
Pandemic flu is defined as a virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. It occurs when a new influenza virus emerges, and because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person and around the world in a short time. Currently, there is no pandemic flu. Seasonal (or common) flu is different; it causes a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person, and occurs every year. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available.
Avian Flu
Avian (or bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. Most birds do not get sick. However, the H5N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and concern exists over potential transmission from birds to humans. In the human cases that have occurred thusfar, mortality has been high. Currently the virus does not spread between humans, but because there is no human immunity and no vaccine is available that would provide protection against the bird flu strains, preparation is warranted.
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