It’s been a while since we’ve heard fears voiced of a bird flu pandemic but that does not mean it has gone away. The Bird Flu is still out there. A couple of cases recently showed up in Egypt. And health officials worldwide maintain a bird-flu watch. The Emerging Infections Coordinator at the state health department, Eddie Headrick, says there’s a difference between the Bird Flu and a pandemic….He says a pandemic happens every 35 to 40 years, and we’re due. It might be the bird flu…or it might be something else. He says pandemics happen about three times a century and there hasn’t been one since 1968. Headrick says there has been “a lot of activity” in recent years with viruses jumping from birds to humans. He says the H5N virus, known as the bird flu, was spotted in 1997. Since then two other strains have developed and have made the jumps.l Headrick says it’s hard to predict which strain will mutate. He says the health department has to be prepared to fight a pandemic, regardless of the breed of flu that constitutes it. He says his job is to try to stay ahead of the mutations. He says an elaborate international watch program reports anything happening in any country within 24 hours. But Headrick says we’re due and it’s likely a pandemic of some kind will hit in the near future.
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