What is an Influenza Pandemic ?
There were 3 pandemics in the 20th century. All of them spread worldwide within 1 year of being detected. They are:
- 1918-19, "Spanish flu," [A (H1N1)], caused the highest number of known flu deaths: more than 500,000 people died in the United States, and 20 million to 50 million people may have died worldwide. Many people died within the first few days after infection and others died of complications soon after. Nearly half of those who died were young, healthy adults.
- 1957-58, "Asian flu," [A (H2N2)], caused about 70,000 deaths in the United States. First identified in China in late February 1957, the Asian flu spread to the United States by June 1957.
- 1968-69, "Hong Kong flu," [A (H3N2)], caused approximately 34,000 deaths in the United States. This virus was first detected in Hong Kong in early 1968 and spread to the United States later that year. Type A (H3N2) viruses still circulate today.
- US NIOSH certified N-95, European CE P2, or comparable national/regional standards applicable to the country of manufacture. Higher level particulate respirators may also be used.
- In the control of the outbreak of avian influenza in the Netherlands in 2003, N95 or equivalent respiratory protection was used.
- For treatment, oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu®): 75 mg capsule twice daily, for 5 days.
- All concerned (persons at risk both environmentally and occupationally) should be vaccinated with the current WHO recommended influenza vaccine as soon as possible prior to anticipated risk exposure (2 weeks are required to develop preventive immunity by vaccination.). This does not specifically protect against H5N1.