Pandemic Flu is a possible form of influenza that could spread rapidly among people and cause serious illness or death.
The most serious flu pandemic in the United States was in 1918, killing over 600,000 people. Less severe pandemics have occurred in 1957 and 1968. Because flu viruses are constantly changing, H5N1 avian influenza has the potential to change so that it spreads easily among people, becoming a pandemic.
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Avian Flu (H5N1 avian influenza, or Bird Flu) has affected flocks of wild and domestic birds overseas. Avian influenza is highly contagious among birds, usually killing those it infects. There are no reported cases among birds in the United States.
Avian flu has spread to some humans who work or live closely with birds. About 250 people worldwide have died from H5N1 avian flu as of March 2009, mostly in Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, China and Thailand. No human cases have occurred in the United States, or in any part of North or South America.
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