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Pandemic Influenza

Pandemics are unlikely, but potentially catastrophic events. There were four pandemics in the past century, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Many experts believe another pandemic will occur. We must be ready to protect the health and safety of our community.

Washtenaw County Public Health is working to protect your health in the event of a pandemic influenza outbreak or any public health emergency. Plans to control a pandemic locally are continuously reviewed and strengthened. Public Health has strategies in place to identify and report communicable diseases, including influenza. Public Health also works closely with state authorities and local partners to coordinate and test response plans.

What Can You Do? Be Prepared

Full preparedness requires informed and ready citizens.

Review and use the resources below to prepare for a pandemic or any public health emergency. Help us protect the health of our entire community by preparing yourself, your family, your workplace and your community.


Vaccination is the best way to avoid getting the flu. Protect yourself from the seasonal flu with an annual vaccination - and get vaccinated against the pandemic flu, if available. There is no substitute for prevention. Promote good hand washing and cover your cough. Cover Your Cough poster

Information and Resources

Avian Influenza

Many experts are concerned the next pandemic may come from a strain of influenza that currently affects birds (avian influenza). There is concern an avian strain could mutate and spread more readily among people.

What is an influenza pandemic?

A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and causes serious illness among people. Because the virus is new, people have no immunity and no vaccine is initially available. The virus may spread rapidly, overwhelming the health care system and causing major economic and social disruptions.

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

 * Pandemic flu is a 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.


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