One hundred years ago the 1918 influenza pandemic devastated entire communities and took an estimated 675,000 American lives. It was the most severe pandemic in recent history, sweeping the globe quickly and killing more than 50 million people. For more than 60 years, CDC has used its science, surveillance, and service to address the continuing threat and burden of influenza. These efforts have dramatically improved influenza preparedness, yet seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses continue to pose a unique public health challenge as influenza viruses are constantly changing. As America’s premier public health agency, CDC and its public health partners work together to address remaining gaps, increase our pandemic preparedness, and to minimize the effects of future influenza pandemics.
Read about the 1918 influenza pandemic and progress made in preparedness and response.
CDC works year-round on global control and prevention of flu, and pandemic preparedness and response.
Learn about advancements in CDC research and pandemic response over the past 100 years.
Message from Acting CDC Director
Anne Schuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS)
For more than 70 years, CDC has used its scientific expertise and resources to address the continuing threat and burden of influenza. The 1918 pandemic, and other recent flu pandemics, not only illustrate the threat of disease but the incredible strides made in our medical and scientific infrastructure. Today we have tools to detect, prevent, diagnose, and treat disease; clarify dynamic circumstances of pandemics; and save lives. CDC marks the 100-year commemoration in memory of the lives lost, with gratitude for the progress made, and in recognition of the additional preparation needed for future emerging threats.
- Page last reviewed: March 19, 2018
- Page last updated: March 19, 2018
- Content source:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs