Pandemic Influenza

An influenza pandemic is a global outbreak of disease that occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges in the human population, causes serious illness, and then spreads easily from person to person worldwide.

Avian (or bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally among wild birds. The H5N1 variant is deadly to domestic fowl and can be transmitted from birds to humans.

Pandemic flu is virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person. Currently, there is no pandemic flu.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is a new coronavirus not previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are a category of viruses normally found in animals, but some can evolve and infect humans. Coronaviruses can infect your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. This specific coronavirus was first identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and was officially named COVID-19 on February 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO).

San Diego County's general population is at low risk of coronavirus disease, or COVID-19. This is an emerging situation and the County is currently working to protect the public's health and prevent the disease from spreading locally. You can take steps to protect and educate yourself and prepare in the event of a local outbreak.

The County will continue to provide updated information on Coronavirus as it becomes available. For daily updates, preparedness tips, resources, and other materials, please visit

For more information, call 2-1-1 or visit their website at, where information is accessible in other languages.

Pandemic Preparedness

Practice the following to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It should be at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (such as tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) with regular household detergent and water.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

Prepare your household

Some steps will be the same as preparing for other emergencies:

  • Store a two-week supply of non-perishable food, beverages, and water, including food for family pets. Ensure an adequate supply of prescribed and routine medications are on hand.
  • Plan ways to care for those who are at greater risk for serious complications and who will take care of sick family members.
  • If any of your family members have an increased risk of getting seriously sick, check with your medical providers about symptoms and treatment. 
  • Create a list of emergency contacts, including family and friends, teachers and employers.
  • Have a plan in case your school, childcare, or employer closes temporarily.
  • Talk with your children, family, and friends about what to do if an outbreak occurs and what each person would need.