Public Health Emergency Preparedness
This resource was part of AHRQ's Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program, which was discontinued on June 30, 2011, in a realignment of Federal efforts.
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Table 8.1. How Seasonal Flu Differs from Pandemic Flu
|Outbreaks follow predictable seasonal patterns; occurs annually, usually in winter, in temperate climates.
||Occurs rarely (three times in 20th century—last in 1968).
|Usually some immunity built up from previous exposure.
||No previous exposure; little or no preexisting immunity.
|Healthy adults usually not at risk for serious complications; the very young, the elderly and those with certain underlying health conditions at increased risk for serious complications.
||Healthy children and adults, along with other seasonal high risk groups, may be at increased risk for serious complications.
|Health systems can usually meet public and patient needs.
||Health systems may be overwhelmed.
|Vaccine developed based on circulating flu strains and available for annual flu season.
||Vaccine probably would not be available in the early stages of a pandemic.
|Adequate supplies of antivirals usually available.
||Effective antivirals may be in limited supply.
|Average U.S. deaths approximately 36,000/year.
||Number of deaths could be quite high (e.g., U.S. 1918 death toll approximately 675,000).
|Symptoms: fever, cough, runny nose, muscle pain. Deaths often caused by complications, such as pneumonia.
||Symptoms may be more severe and complications more frequent.
|Generally causes modest impact on society (e.g., some school closing, encouragement of people who are sick to stay home)
||Severe pandemic may cause major impact on society (e.g., widespread restrictions on travel, closings of schools and businesses, cancellation of large public gatherings).
|Manageable impact on domestic and world economy.
||Potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy.
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