Influenza viruses cause infections of the respiratory tract (breathing tubes and lungs) and spread around the world every year, particularly during “flu season”. In some persons, complications of influenza can be severe, including pneumonia. Pandemic influenza is a global outbreak of disease from a new influenza A virus that is unlike past influenza viruses. Because people have not been infected with a similar virus in the past, most or all people will not have any natural immunity or protection to a new pandemic virus.
Influenza pandemics occur naturally, but it is difficult to predict accurately when influenza pandemics will occur or how severe they will be. However, the current outbreak of avian influenza in Asia, Europe, and Africa has influenza experts concerned that a pandemic is developing that may be severe.
The Champaign Health District takes the threat of an influenza pandemic seriously and is preparing for the possibility of such an emergency. We have written and are continually revising plans to track the spread of the disease, diminish its spread and the effects on our community, dispense medicines or vaccines as they become available, and keep you informed and up to date of our situation. These capabilities are tested annually in functional exercise to ensure that our community is as safe as possible from this threat.