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 19, 2019 at 3:00 pm
During week 15 (Apr 7-13), flu activity decreased in the U.S. […]
- 2009 H1N1 Pandemic (H1N1pdm09 virus)on April 19, 2019 at 2:00 pm
In the spring of 2009, a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged. It was detected first in the United States and spread quickly across the United States and the world. This new H1N1 virus contained a unique combination of influenza genes not previously identified in animals or people. […]
- What CDC Does About Novel Flu: Outbreak Investigationson April 17, 2019 at 1:30 pm
CDC takes novel flu outbreaks seriously because of their potential to harm large numbers of people. […]
- Upcoming 2019-2020 Influenza Seasonon March 28, 2019 at 3:00 pm
What you need to know about the upcoming 2019-2020 influenza season […]
- CDC Health Advisory: Influenza Season Continues with an Increase in Influenza A(H3N2) Activityon March 28, 2019 at 1:10 pm
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing this health advisory to notify clinicians that influenza activity remains high in the United States, with an increasing proportion of activity due to influenza A(H3N2) viruses, continued circulation of influenza A(H1N1) viruses, and low levels of influenza B viruses. […]