09/29/11 09:30:44 AM
The links below
provide checklists to guide Nevadans preparing for pandemic
is an outbreak of a
disease that happens in many different countries at the same
time. A pandemic of influenza, or flu, occurs when a new flu
virus rapidly spreads from country-to-country around the
world. This rapid spread of flu can happen because most
people will not be immune to a new flu virus, and it is
possible that a vaccine against the virus will not available
until months after the new virus first appears. In addition,
people with flu who travel from country-to-country in
airplanes can be a source of infection, as occurred in the
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in Asia
and Canada in 2003. Pandemics are not just particularly bad
flu seasons. In fact, they are not seasonal at all; they can
A flu pandemic may be caused by any type of emerging flu
virus that is new to humans, including the avian (bird) flu
In the 20th century, several flu pandemics occurred - the
biggest one in 1918. During that pandemic, at least 500,000
Americans died, and it has been estimated that there were as
many as 10 million deaths worldwide.
What is the difference between a pandemic and
An epidemic is an outbreak of disease that occurs
in one or several limited areas, like a city, state or
country. Once the disease spreads beyond the borders of
several countries, and affects many countries across the
globe, it is called a pandemic.
How is pandemic flu treated?
The virus that would cause a pandemic flu virus will have
undergone such a dramatic change that current flu vaccines
will probably offer no protection and most, if not all
people may have no natural immunity. Once a pandemic flu
virus appears, it takes at least six months to develop a
vaccine that precisely matches the composition of the new
virus. This means that there is currently no vaccine to
protect against pandemic flu. Scientists are now studying
the current bird flu virus in Asia for clues on future
Are there other methods to
prevent a pandemic flu?
Antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu may offer protection
to some patients against pandemic flu. However, flu viruses
can become resistant to these drugs. The exact effectiveness
of antiviral medications will not be fully known until a
pandemic virus is circulating. Good health habits can help
protect against infection from all forms of flu. Learn more
on the Flu Prevention web page.
When will the next pandemic flu occur?
Influenza pandemics occur naturally, and are impossible to
accurately predict. However, scientists are monitoring the
current bird flu outbreak in Asia and Eastern Europe for
changes in the virus that would allow it to spread quickly
What can I do to prepare for pandemic flu?
It's a good idea to prepare for a pandemic much as you would
for an earthquake, flood or other disaster.
A pandemic is caused by a
strain of virus that is
chances are, most, if not all people would have little to no
natural immunity and the virus would be highly contagious,
from person to person. Therefore, it may be necessary to
protect yourself and others from getting the virus by
remaining in your home for several days. Or, you may find
yourself staying home from work to care for sick children,
or even working from home. The Nevada State Health Division
recommends taking the following steps for personal
Items for personal comfort. You may want to
have extra items on hand to make your time at home more
comfortable, like food, water, soap, shampoo,
toothpaste, toilet paper, cleaners and activities for
Cash. Make sure to have some cash on hand. If
necessary, you may be able to be have items delivered to
Pets. Don't forget your pets. Make sure you
have enough food and water for them and other
necessities like extra litter.
Phone. If there are disruptions to power, you
will need to have a phone that does not run on power
from an electrical outlet (a standard "wired" or
"landline" phone). Cordless phones will not operate when
the power is out, however cellular phones will.
Medications and equipment. If you must take
medications on a regular basis, be sure to have enough
of a supply to last for several days.
Large trash bags. Garbage service may be
disrupted or postponed for many days. Have bags on hand
to store garbage safely.
Talk to your friends
and family about emergency plans. Make sure you have a
plan to check in with elderly parents and friends, that
children know who to contact in an emergency and that
you know your family's medical histories, social
security numbers and other basic information.
For more information on personal
preparedness, please visit the Nevada State Health
Division's Public Health Preparedness website.
The site features tips and checklists to help you develop a
household disaster plan, pack an emergency preparedness kit,
and much more. You can also access the Red Cross
preparedness website by clicking
What is the State of Nevada doing to prepare for a pandemic?
Nevada State Health
Division, working with local health districts and
departments statewide, monitors each flu season in several
- We ask
doctors and others who see patients to count the number
of patients they see each week with a flu-like illness.
- We ask
nursing homes to let us know if their patients begin to
get sick with something that looks like flu.
- We ask
doctors and laboratories to send samples to the Nevada
State Public Health Laboratory from patients with
flu-like illness so we can try to grow flu from the
sample. This helps us to know if the virus circulating
in our state is the same strain that is active in other
parts of the United States, and whether or not that
year’s flu vaccine protects against the virus we have
follow the trends in the number of people who die in
Nevada's larger cities from flu and pneumonia — a
serious lung infection that can be a complication of
Additionally, the Nevada State Public Health Laboratories
perform specialized testing for flu and send samples of
influenza to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), where they use information from Nevada and
other states to determine what strains of flu should be
covered in each year’s flu vaccine.
All year long, we ask doctors to report any serious or fatal
illness where they were unable to find a cause for the
illness, so we can do testing for flu. We monitor updates
from the CDC and the World Health Organization on influenza
vaccine developments and events related to flu, including
the outbreak of avian flu in Asia. We work with other state
and local government agencies and hospitals in Nevada and
our neighbor states to develop response plans specific to
The Nevada Department of
Agriculture would lead the response to any cases of
bird flu detected in Nevada poultry flocks, and would work
with their counterparts in the United States as necessary.
- For the
past two years, the Department of Agriculture has, and
continues to run tests on samples associated with
waterfowl, migratory and shorebirds, and domestic
poultry deaths. The Department's Animal and Food Safety
Laboratory has federal funding for avian influenza
tests, and is certified by the national Veterinary
Services Laboratory to run these tests.
- If a
sample is found to be positive for high-pathogenicity
avian influenza, the sample is sent to the National
Veterinary Services Laboratory for confirmation within
initial response upon a preliminary positive in domestic
poultry will include immediate notification of the
Governor's office, the Division of Emergency Management,
Nevada State Health Division, and the USDA-Veterinary
Services. Infected birds would be purchased to limit
spread of disease.
confirmation by the National Veterinary Service
Laboratory, a public information outreach program would
be initiated by partner state agencies and the USDA.
The State Veterinarian, with approval from the
Governor, would ask the Secretary of Agriculture for an
extraordinary emergency declaration and a state/federal
task force would be convened.
Education and outreach activities have been directed to
practicing veterinarians, feed stores, extension offices
and local health agencies for the past six months.
Department of Agriculture has been consulting with state
and federal wildlife agencies on safety procedures for
collecting migratory and shorebirds as well as
Nevada Department of
Wildlife (NDOW) is the state agency responsible for
the management of the State's wildlife resources as set
forth in Nevada Law. NDOW works cooperatively with the
Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDOA) on matters of animal
health and disease.
The United States Fish and
Wildlife Service (Service) is the federal agency
responsible for the management of migratory birds under
several laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The
Service coordinates with states to manage populations of
hunted game birds and species utilized for subsistence as
well as other migratory birds that are not taken for sport
or traditional sustenance. Information about the Service's
role in Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) can be
examined by clicking here.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is the federal
multi-disciplinary science organization agency that monitors
biology, geography, geology, geospatial information and
water. It is dedicated to the timely, relevant, and
impartial study of the landscape, natural resources and the
natural hazards that threaten the country. It monitors HPAI
through its National Wildlife Health Center. Information
about the USGS's role in HPAI can be examined by clicking
The Interagency HPAI Working Group is comprised of USGS,
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Alaska
Department of Fish & Game personnel drawn together to
address the issue of HPAI occurrence in North America. The
initial phase will address early detection activities in
Alaska and in particular that state's coastal areas where
initial contact with HPAI-infected waterfowl stocks would
most likely occur. The second phase will address subsequent
HPAI detection activities in the four North American
Surveillance: Activities to detect prevalence of
HPAI among migratory waterfowl will fall under the
guidelines developed by the Working Group. NDOW actions in
the field will be coordinated with the Nevada Department of
Agriculture's State Veterinarian. If it is determined that
a coordinated surveillance effort is necessary, the NDOW's
activities will likely include the following:
Random sampling: NDOW
personnel will establish checkpoints at strategic
locations designed to collect blood and/or tissue
samples of hunter-harvested waterfowl.
Sampling efficacy to be analyzed
Sampling protocol to be determined
Targeted sampling: NDOW
personnel will work with the Service to obtain samples
through scheduled field sampling efforts, sometimes
concurrent with other activities such as banding.
Sampling efficacy to be analyzed
Sampling protocol to be determined
monitoring: NDOW personnel will continue to
monitor work and reports about HPAI through Internet
sources, mass and interest-specific media, and through
coordination within the Pacific Flyway Council and its
association with the Working Group.
more information about NDOW's HPAI plan, please visit their
For information from the USGS National
Wildlife Health Center, please visit their
For information from the U.S.
Department of the Interior, please visit their