College of American Pathologists
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  Human and Avian Influenza - “Birds, Flu, and You”


Posted November 10, 2008


The College of American Pathologists supports good health habits to help people from contracting the flu, and recommends an influenza vaccination to help prevent influenza. Vaccination is widely recommended for individuals who are at risk for severe disease or severe complications (See table below). Continued monitoring of avian influenza virus activity is necessary.

Individuals at risk for severe influenza and complications
  • Young children (> 6 months <5 years old)
  • Pregnant women.
  • Adults > 50 years old.
  • People with chronic medical conditions, and those in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu.
  • Information Highlights

      Human Influenza
    • Getting a flu vaccination each year can prevent influenza.
    • Vaccination is widely recommended for people who are at high risk for severe disease (see above), and for the close contacts of these people.
    • Good health habits can also help diminish the chances of contracting influenza and other respiratory viruses during cold and flu season. These include washing your hands, avoiding touching your eyes, mouth and nose, and avoiding sick individuals.
      Avian Influenza
    • Avian influenza is not an imminent threat to humans or a cause for panic.
    • Avian influenza activity will continue to be monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
    • The influenza vaccine and two of the four drugs used to treat human influenza are not protective against avian influenza.
    • Avian influenza has not occurred in the United States.
    • People who have contracted avian flu have often had very close contact with infected poultry.
    • The avian influenza virus H5N1 is not readily spread from person-to-person.