A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity, causes serious illness and spreads easily person-to-person. A pandemic can spread across the country and around the world in a very short period of time causing millions of deaths.
Four pandemics occurred in the past century:
It is very difficult to predict when the next pandemic will occur or how severe it will be. Regardless, preparedness efforts are underway in Georgia to respond to the unique and complex challenges a pandemic will pose. The Division of Public Health is working with many public and private providers to ensure all relevant areas of preparedness are addressed adequately. Please use the resources presented on this page to gain a better understanding of the ongoing work and to educate yourself, your family, and the community about the benefits of planning. Preparing for a pandemic will have long lasting and profound effects on emergency preparedness efforts for other disasters as well.
Flu Terms Defined:
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.
Avian (or bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. The H5N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and can be transmitted from birds to humans. There is no human immunity and no vaccine is available.
Pandemic flu is virulent 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.
The official U.S. government Web site for information on pandemic flu and avian influenza.
CDC: Pandemic Influenza: Worldwide Preparedness
World Health Organization