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 January 17, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Key indicators that track flu activity declined slightly but remain high.
- Study confirms that some flu vaccines cause a stronger immune response among older adultson December 12, 2019 at 5:15 am
A new CDC co-authored study published today in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases offers more evidence that certain specially formulated flu vaccines may offer people 65 years and older better protection than standard-dose flu vaccines.
- Update: Interim Guidance for Health Care Providers for Managing Patients with Suspected E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung...on November 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm
A total of 2,172 U.S. e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) cases have been reported to CDC. Vitamin E acetate and tetrahydrocannabinol appear to be associated with the outbreak; however, no single causative agent has been identified.
- Influenza Division Director Recognized Among Best in Federal Serviceon October 24, 2019 at 12:00 pm
Jernigan, who has worked at CDC for 25 years, has led global responses to infectious disease outbreaks, including Ebola, SARS, West Nile virus and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, while also working for the past decade to improve CDC's ability to identify, prepare for and respond to both seasonal and pandemic flu.
- 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.