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Here are the key differences between Seasonal Flu and Pandemic Flu.
 

SEASONAL FLU
  • Usually follows a predictable pattern, typically every year in the winter. There is usually some protection built up in a person from having the flu before.
  • Healthy adults are not usually at risk for any serious complications.
  • The medical community can usually meet public and patient needs.
  • Vaccines are developed before the flu season, based on known virus strains.
  • Supplies of antiviral drugs are usually available.
  • Average number of deaths in the US is about 36,000 a year.
  • Regular flu symptoms: fever, cough, runny nose, and muscle pain
  • A small impact on the community with sick people staying home from work and school.
  • Small impact on the US and world economy

PANDEMIC FLU
  • Doesn't happen often - only three times in the 20th century. The last time was in 1968. Since this new pandemic flu hasn't been seen before, there is no or little immunity.
  • Healthy people may be at risk for serious complications.
  • The medical community will be overwhelmed.
  • Vaccine developed early may not be effective. Once an effective vaccine is developed, it may not be available for several months.
  • May not have any effective antiviral drugs or the supply may be limited.
  • The number of deaths would be much higher, worldwide it could be millions.
  • Symptoms would be more serious and there would be more medical complications.
  • Big impact on the community. There could be travel restrictions, school closing, and cancellations of public gatherings.
  • Could have a big impact on US and world economy.