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
- Flu Forecasting Accuracy Results for the 2018-2019 Seasonon October 16, 2019 at 7:15 pm
During the 2018-2019 flu season, 24 different teams participated in the flu forecasting initiative, each submitting 38 different weekly forecasts.
- Update: Influenza Activity - United States and Worldwide, May 19-September 28, 2019, and Composition of the 2020 Southern Hemisphere...on October 11, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Update: Influenza Activity - United States and Worldwide, May 19-September 28, 2019, and Composition of the 2020 Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccine
- Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Reporton October 11, 2019 at 3:00 pm
During week 40 (Sept 29-Oct 5), flu activity remained low in the U.S.
- Get Vaccinated to Fight Fluon September 26, 2019 at 1:15 pm
The best step you can take to prevent influenza (flu) and its potentially serious complications is getting a yearly flu vaccine.
- Influenza Vaccination Coverage - FluVaxViewon September 26, 2019 at 1:15 pm
CDC estimates annual influenza vaccination coverage for the United States by utilizing data from several nationally representative surveys.