Pandemic Influenza


The Wicomico County Health Department continues to work with both private and public partners to improve preparedness and planning related to an influenza pandemic.

The Public Information Officer takes a leadership role in the collaborative effort to enhance the public health preparedness message development for Avian, Novel and Pandemic Influenza.

The health department participates in community meetings focused to enhance pandemic influenza preparedness. Current meetings include: DRHMAG, Wicomico County Health Department’s Special Needs group (and subgroups thereof), Peninsula Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Preparedness Meeting, Dialysis Planning Group, Region IV PHEP meeting, and the EP Task Force.

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What is a pandemic? Let the World Health Organization (WHO) Explain:

A disease epidemic occurs when there are more cases of that disease than normal. A pandemic is a worldwide epidemic of a disease. An influenza pandemic may occur when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity.  Pandemics can be either mild or severe in the illness and death they cause, and the severity of a pandemic can change over the course of that pandemic.

Map of the world

How Does Season Flu Differ from Pandemic Flu?

Seasonal Flu

  • Outbreaks follow predictable seasonal patterns; occurs annually, usually in winter, in temperate climates
  • Usually some immunity built up from previous exposure
  • 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
  • Symptoms:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Runny nose
    • Muscle Pain
    • Deaths often caused by complications, such as pneumonia

Pandemic Flu

  • Occurs rarely (three times in 20th century – last in 1968)
  • No previous exposure; little or no pre-existing immunity
  • Healthy people may be at increased risk for serious complications
  • Symptoms may be more severe and complications more frequent

For more differences between seasonal and pandemic flu

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