Comal County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Unit - Pandemic Influenza Information


Pandemic Influenza and other pandemics

A pandemic is the spread of a single disease

During a flu pandemic, the disease spreads quickly from person to person; it affects many people in a short period of time; it may spread around the world in months or even days; and it may cause serious illness and many deaths.

Influenza is also known as the flu and it is caused by a virus that infects the nose, throat, and lungs.

The flu can lead to dangerous complications, including pneumonia or dehydration; it can also make asthma, diabetes, and heart disease worse.


A flu virus has the potential to cause a pandemic.

There were 3 flu pandemics in the 20th century and experts believe another pandemic is very likely.

It is estimated that millions of people could become ill in the United States during the next pandemic.  If the pandemic is severe, it could kill almost 2 million people in the U.S. 

A flu pandemic may start without warning, in any country, at any time.

It may spread quickly, especially because modern travel makes the virus easily transferable from country to country.

It may also spread quickly because many areas are densely populated.

It may come in multiple waves over several months.  Each outbreak in a community may last 6-8 weeks.

Influenza is among the fastest mutating of all of the viruses.





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