CDC Resources for Pandemic Flu
One hallmark of influenza viruses is that they are constantly changing. If a non-human (novel) influenza virus gains the ability for efficient and sustained human-to-human transmission and spreads globally, an influenza pandemic occurs.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza A (HPAI) H5N1, or “bird flu,” is an example of an influenza virus with pandemic potential. This is a non-human virus (it is novel among humans and circulates widely in birds in parts of the world) so there is little to no immunity against this virus among people. Human infections with this virus occur rarely, but if the virus were to change in such a way that it were able to infect humans easily and spread easily from person-to-person, an H5N1 influenza pandemic would result.
CDC’s pandemic preparedness efforts include ongoing surveillance of human and animal influenza viruses, risk assessments of influenza viruses with pandemic potential, and the development and improvement of preparedness tools that can aid public health practitioners in the event of an influenza pandemic.
The links below offer more information about influenza pandemics and highlight some of CDC Influenza Division’s continued work on influenza pandemic preparedness.
CDC’s international surveillance activities monitor trends in influenza activity
Risk assessments help assess the threat of influenza viruses with pandemic potential
Resources to help hospital administrators and state and local health officials prepare for the next influenza pandemic
Resources to help businesses, communities, schools and other organizations plan for the next pandemic