Californians should be aware of a few different types of flu:
Seasonal flu is what many people refer to as “the flu.” Seasonal flu happens every year. It is caused by viruses similar to those already affecting people.
Bird flu also known as avian flu, is a virus that affects birds, both wild and domestic, in many parts of the world. The current outbreak of bird flu, H5N1, occurs among poultry and wild game and has not been found in the United States. In countries where the H5N1 virus is affecting birds, some humans have gotten the virus directly from poultry.
Pandemic flu happens when a new type of flu virus that people have never had before spreads around the world. It is possible that the H5N1 bird flu virus could change and become more dangerous to humans. In order for the current bird flu outbreak to become a pandemic, it would have to change to be able to spread easily from human to human.
This section provides you with resources to understand more about the differences among each type of flu, and what you can do to prepare for and respond to each.