Avian (Bird Flu) Preparedness at WWU

As of fall 2006, a number of countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa have reported outbreaks of avian influenza in their poultry and wild bird populations. Cases of avian flu, also called bird flu, have been confirmed in people in several countries. No cases in either birds or humans have been confirmed in the U.S.

Western Washington University is developing comprehensive plans for responding in the event of a large-scale influenza or other epidemic or pandemic. Work on these plans focuses on protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors should a wide-spread illness occur.

While there is no pandemic or widespread epidemic at present, ordinary varieties of influenza, also known as seasonal flu, affect millions of people world-wide each year. Other types of infectious illness increase their frequency during the winter. There are measures we all can take to reduce the spread of illness.

The links below provide current, reliable information on avian (bird) influenza, pandemic influenza and seasonal influenza.

Consult this site and links frequently for updates on avian and pandemic influenza, travel advisories and other information.

Are Avian, Seasonal and Pandemic flu Different?

Seasonal (or common) flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available.

Avian (or bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. The H5N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and can be transmitted from birds to humans. There is no human immunity and no vaccine is available.

Pandemic flu is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person. Currently, there is no pandemic flu.

Page Updated 08.06.2012