Pandemic influenza is a global outbreak caused by a new influenza virus.
- The virus may spread easily, possibly causing serious illness and death.
- Because so many people are at risk, serious consequences are possible.
- Historically, pandemic influenza has caused widespread harm and death.
Pandemic influenza is different from the flu (seasonal influenza).
- Seasonal outbreaks of the flu are caused by viruses that are already among people.
- Pandemic influenza is caused by an influenza virus that is new to people.
- Pandemic influenza is likely to affect many more people than seasonal influenza.
Timing and consequences of pandemic influenza are difficult to predict.
- Pandemic influenza has occurred three times in the last century.
- Flu viruses are constantly changing.
- The most serious was the 1918 pandemic which killed tens of millions of people worldwide.
Preparing now can limit the effects of pandemic influenza.
- The World Health Organization, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and countries throughout the world have developed emergency plans for a pandemic influenza.
- Informed public participation and cooperation will be needed for effective public health efforts.
- Individuals should stay informed about pandemic influenza and prepare as they would for any emergency.
Preparing and staying informed about pandemic influenza are the best responses now.
- Preparing now can limit the effects of pandemic influenza.
- You can stay informed through the Internet and other sources.
If pandemic influenza starts, public health officials will provide more specific information.
- More information will become available as the circumstances of the pandemic become known.
- Vaccine might be in short supply in the early stages of an influenza pandemic.
- People should anticipate that daily life could change for a while, such as school closings and travel limitations.
People preparing now for pandemic influenza can help protect themselves and their families later.
- Keep a supply of essential supplies at home, such as food, water, medicine and a thermometer.
- People can volunteer with local organizations to help with emergency response.
- Prepare as you would for any emergency that affects large segments of society, such as an earthquake or blizzard.
People should stay informed about prevention and control actions.
- Public health officials will share information about prevention and control actions.
- Information about prevention and control actions will be shared in a variety of ways, including through the CDC Hotline and through sites such as:
- Informed public participation and cooperation will be needed for public health efforts.
People should use information about prevention and control actions to care for themselves and their loved ones.
- Public health officials will provide information on the signs and symptoms of the specific disease.
- People should practice good health habits, including eating a balanced diet and getting sufficient rest.
- People should discuss individual health concerns with their health care provider, health department, or other trusted sources.
People should take common-sense actions to keep from spreading germs.
- People should cover their coughs and sneezes, and wash their hands frequently.
- People should stay away from sick people as much as possible.
- If you are sick, you should stay away from others as much as possible.