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    Influenza is the name given to a family of viruses that take on similar
    characteristics and symptoms. However Phil
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     , as each year progresses, viruses mutate and
    slightly varied forms of the virus are formed. In most cases, influenza makes us
    feel a miserable, but within a few days to a week we feel better and able to
    resume normal activities. The problem is that as the flu virus mutates it
    becomes more difficult to manage, and in rare cases such as the Spanish Flu of
    1918-1919 or what is now posing a threat to Asia and expected to spread across
    the globe is the avian bird flu, also described as the H5N1 flu, can even result
    in death.

    Although people in the United States are taking the threat of
    the avian bird flu lightly, experts say that when a person is infected by the
    H5N1 flu, the mortality rate is extremely high-between 50% and 65% infected thus
    far have died. In comparison Andy
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     , only 2.5% to 5% of those infected with the Spanish Flu

    Anthony Fauci and some of his colleagues wrote in a commentary in
    the Journal of the American Medical Association, that "pandemic prevention
    strategies must be based on expecting the unexpected and being capable of
    reacting accordingly."

    Some people want to focus on finding a vaccine to
    help minimize the risk of an influenza outbreak. However, as people continue to
    get vaccinations, they are also building up an immunity that may prevent other
    forms of the vaccine from being effective.

    BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, a
    U.S. based company, is planning on testing a new anti-viral drug called
    Peramivir in Asia over the next month. In mice and ferrets, the drug is shown to
    improve survival rates, and experts are projecting that this is the next drug
    which will combat all types of influenza, including H5N1.