Read the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan
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Use of Emergency Department Surveillance Data to Monitor the Impact of Influenza by Age
The New York City Health Department is working closely with several City, State and federal agencies and the medical community in New York City to prepare for a possible flu pandemic. The City is planning for continuity of essential services, making sure hospitals and health services are ready, and educating the public about the personal precautions they could take. There are a number of systems in place to detect where and when flu viruses occur, and to help communicate quickly with doctors and the public about how to avoid infection in the event of a pandemic.
A flu pandemic would present a tremendous challenge, and could last for many months. If there were a pandemic, New Yorkers should:
- Pay close attention to regular announcements from the City through mass media and other channels for information about symptoms, when to go to the doctor, when to stay home, where to go for treatment.
- As people should ordinarily do in "regular" flu seasons, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home if experiencing cough and fever. Frequently wash hands with soap or an alcohol-based cleaner to help prevent the spread of germs.
- Develop a household disaster plan to prepare for what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in an emergency, to prepare for any number of natural or man-made emergencies. Emergency management officials also recommend keeping enough supplies in the home to survive on your own for at least three days.
Read New York City's Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan
For more information on Pandemic Flu Preparedness, visit Flu.gov.
For more information on emergency planning and preparedness, visit the New York City Office of Emergency Management's website
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How are Seasonal, Avian and Pandemic Flu different?
Influenza viruses are common and occur worldwide, and can be grouped according to what animals they can infect (e.g., humans, birds, pigs, horses). The influenza viruses are usually only capable of infected one specific type of animal.
Seasonal (or common) flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Seasonal flu occurs every winter and spring and is transmitted when infected people sneeze or cough. Each year, thousands of people die and many more are hospitalized from seasonal flu. There is a vaccine available for seasonal flu, and people should get an annual flu shot. Severe illness is usually limited to the elderly and young infants.
Avian (or bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. There are many avian influenza or “bird flu” viruses and they occur naturally and commonly among birds, particularly domestic poultry and some wild birds. The H5N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl. Only in rare instance are these viruses passed to other animals and people through close contact with bodily fluids (blood, feces) from infected birds. The human avian influenza cases that have been reported around the world since 2003 have been linked to contact with infected domestic (non-wild) poultry. There is no human immunity and no human vaccine is available.
Pandemic flu can be caused by the emergence of a new human flu virus that spreads easily from person to person causing a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because it is a new flu virus, there is little natural immunity and people of all ages may become ill. Currently, there is no pandemic flu. The last pandemic was in 1968.
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New York City Additional Resources
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New York State, Federal and Other Additional Resources
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Last Updated: December 7, 2012