Preparing Against a Novel Influenza Pandemic

Preparing Against a Novel Influenza Pandemic

What is Novel Influenza? 

(Differences with seasonal or bird influenza)

1. Characteristics of Novel Influenza

Novel influenza emerged and came to spread efficiently from person to person as a result of the influenza virus (bird influenza virus) being anomalously transmitted to a person, where it usually only spreads among animals (and particularly birds), and undergoing a mutation within the body of that person or pig.

Unlike with seasonal influenza, which becomes prevalent every year, most people do not have immunity to the novel influenza virus. Thus, it harbors the potential of becoming pandemic.

2. Differences with Bird Influenza

Bird influenza is infectious among many types of birds, and particularly among waterfowl such as ducks. It is said to pose low risk to people, although there are instances where bird influenza virus may be transmitted from bird to person in certain circumstances, such as through prolonged exposure to an infected bird. Nevertheless, it is extremely rare for the virus to spread from person to person. 

Infection Routes of Novel Influenza Virus  

(Beware of coughing and sneezing!)

Novel influenza virus is contracted through droplet infection or contact infection, in the same manner as seasonal influenza virus.

Droplet infection is infection caused by inhaling influenza virus contained in airborne droplets of coughs and sneezes from an infected individual.

Contact infection is indirect infection that occurs by touching a virus-contaminated surface and then touching one’s own mouth or nose with that hand

Take Basic Anti-infection Precautions!  

(Wash your hands, wear a mask, and observe proper cough etiquette) 

To prevent novel influenza infection, take the same basic antiinfection precautions as for seasonal influenza, such as washing your hands, wearing a mask, observing proper cough etiquette, and avoiding crowded places

How to Seek Medical Attention If You Contract

Novel Influenza

1. Seek medical attention promptly!

If you suddenly come down with a fever of more than 38 degrees, a cough or soreness in your throat, general malaise, or other possible symptoms of influenza, promptly seek medical attention.

2. Seek instructions by phone before going to the doctor!

Call the 24-hour “Novel Influenza Consultation Center” that is made available when there is an outbreak of novel influenza (not a permanent installation). The consultation center will refer you to a medical institution suited to your condition. The telephone number for the center is promptly posted on the website of your prefecture or municipality when an outbreak of novel influenza is detected.

3. Wear a mask when seeing the doctor!

When seeing a doctor, wear a mask and observe proper cough etiquette to prevent infecting other patients in the office. 

◆ Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Institution Information “Himawari” Offers an online search of the locations and services of medical institutions in

Tokyo, as well as telephone information services (in Japanese).

“Himawari” website

Interactive voice response service: 03-5272-0303 (24 hours every day)

◆ Information about medical institutions and telephone consultation are also provided in foreign languages.

Foreign language telephone consultation: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Spanish Telephone: 03-5285-8181 (9:00AM – 8:00PM every day)

More details available here

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