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 September 25, 2020 at 3:00 pm
Laboratory confirmed flu activity as reported by clinical laboratories is now low.
- Tools for Essential Workerson September 18, 2020 at 4:00 am
Your work is essential! New Flyers and Posters for the workplace.
- This season a flu vaccine is more important than ever!on September 10, 2020 at 4:00 am
Roll up your sleeve for your annual flu vaccine, and take other preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses this fall and winter.
- CDC Study Finds Sudden, Serious Cardiac Events Common in Adults Hospitalized with Fluon August 24, 2020 at 4:00 am
A CDC study published today that looked at more than 80,000 U.S. adults hospitalized with flu over eight flu seasons (2010-11 through 2017-18) found that sudden, serious heart complications were common and occurred in one out of every eight patients (~12% of patients).
- Preparing for Fall: Back to School and 2020-2021 Influenza Seasonon July 24, 2020 at 5:20 pm
Dr. Nancy Messonnier disscusses the importance of getting a flu vaccine for the 2020-2021 flu season because of the current COVID-19 pandemic.