"Influenza viruses are unique in their ability to cause sudden infection in all age groups on a global scale. The importance of influenza viruses as biological threats is due to a number of factors, including the high degree of transmissibility, the presence of a vast reservoir of novel variants (primarily aquatic birds), and the unusual properties of the viral genome. The infamous 'Spanish flu' of 1918-19 was responsible for more than 20 million deaths worldwide, primarily among young adults. Mortality rates associated with the more recent pandemics of 1957 (A/Asia [H2N2]) and 1968 (A/Hong Kong [H3N2]) were reduced, in part, by antibiotic therapy for secondary bacterial infections and more aggressive supportive care. However, both of these later pandemics were associated with high rates of morbidity and social disruption. To prepare for the next pandemic, an event considered by many experts to be inevitable, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in cooperation with various state and local organizations has developed the Minnesota Pandemic Influenza Control and Prevention Guidelines to outline strategies by which pandemic influenza-related morbidity, mortality, and social disruption may be reduced."
2005 Minnesota Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health: http://www.health.state.mn.us