Flu - Information and Resources

Flu: What's the difference?

SEASONAL FLU:  We've all had it.  It's the flu we catch from our family, friends and co-workers, usually during the fall.  It is a respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses, spread when infected people sneeze or cough. Usually people get sick one to three days after they have been exposed.  About 36,000 Americans die every year from the flu.  Most people can prevent or reduce flu symptoms by getting an annual flu shot, washing their hands before eating or drinking, and staying away from others who are sick.

BIRD (AVIAN) FLU:  Many “bird flu” viruses occur naturally in wild birds, especially waterfowl and shorebirds and in domestic poultry.  The bird flu in the news is caused by the "H5N1" influenza virus and is different because it is more deadly than some other bird flu viruses.  Infected birds can spread the virus through bodily fluids to other birds.  It can also spread to other animals including pigs, cats and very rarely to humans.  Many people who catch bird flu live or work closely with infected birds.

PANDEMIC FLU:  An epidemic caused by a new virus, for which people have no immunity,  spreads easily from person to person, and crosses international boundaries usually affecting a  large number of people is called a “pandemic.” Pandemics can spread rapidly around the world in only a few months. The current Bird Flu virus does not spread easily between people now, but it could change (mutate) into a form that spreads easily from person to person.  No vaccines are available now, because a vaccine cannot be developed until the human pandemic flu virus exists. 

A selection of information for your guidance on how to prepare for the possibility of an Avian Flu pandemic.



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Vaccine Prioritization

The U.S. Government is working toward a goal of expanding domestic influenza vaccine surge capacity for the production of pandemic influenza vaccines for the entire population within six months of a pandemic declaration. However, at the beginning of a pandemic, the scarcity of pre-pandemic influenza vaccine and pandemic influenza vaccine (which could include up to two doses) will require that the limited supply be prioritized for distribution and administration.
Accordingly, the federal government has initiated a process to provide guidance to assist State and local governments, communities, tribal and territorial governments and the private sector in defining groups that should be considered for priority access to scarce vaccine.


West Nile Virus - Information and Resources

West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes, and can cause serious, life-altering and even fatal disease. Although September may start feeling like Fall it is still peak West Nile virus season. Don't let your guard down. Still keep insect repellent handy, wear long sleeves and long pants and get rid of mosquito breeding sites in the yard.

Just one mosquito bite can transmit West Nile virus or other diseases. To prevent illness from WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases, remember:

To report a potential mosquito breeding situation, please call the Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector Borne Disease Control District at (310) 915-7370.


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