For most people, influenza, or flu, causes fever, coughing, headaches, aches and pains, and fatigue. Flu illness can escalate and develop into life-threatening complications like pneumonia and respiratory failure. Each year scientists predict which strains of the flu virus are likely to affect which areas of the world. Vaccines are developed and then distributed annually to help build immunity against seasonal flu viruses so as to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications.
A flu pandemic can occur when a novel, non-human strain of the flu virus emerges, and a given population has little or no immunity against it. If the virus spreads throughout a given population and then spreads across national or geographical boundaries, it becomes a global threat— a flu pandemic.
Flu pandemics have happened four times before in recent history—in 1918, 1957, 1968, and 2009. Governments, organizations, doctors, and scientists are working hard to plan for the next pandemic.
Health systems must be prepared for future pandemics before the pandemics occur, a key part of this is being able to distribute and administer vaccine effectively and efficiently. If people become ill, antivirals can treat flu infection, while antibiotics can treat secondary bacterial infections such as pneumonia. Health systems must be able to distribute and administer these treatments effectively. Pandemic preparedness plans are developed and implemented to reduce the impact of future pandemics.
For more information on flu or pandemics, please visit:
Influenza News from the CDC
CDC International Influenza Updates
CDC Seasonal Flu Updates
- Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Reporton April 16, 2021 at 3:00 pm
Laboratory confirmed flu activity as reported by clinical laboratories is now low.
- Weekly National Flu Vaccination Dashboardon December 9, 2020 at 5:00 am
Everything you need to know about the flu illness, including symptoms, treatment and prevention.
- National Influenza Vaccination Week Kickoffon December 4, 2020 at 5:00 am
December 6-12 marks National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), an annual observance to remind everyone that there's still time to get your flu vaccine if you haven't already. Flu activity is still low, but it may increase as we head into the winter.
- Flu Testing and Treatment When SARS-CoV-2 and Flu Viruses are Co-circulatingon October 19, 2020 at 4:00 am
Flu Testing and Treatment When SARS-CoV-2 and Flu Viruses are Co-circulating
- Flu Disparities Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Groupson October 5, 2020 at 4:00 am
People from racial and ethnic minority groups are at higher risk for being hospitalized with flu.